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Full text of "Reports on the crab and lobster fisheries of England and Wales ... of Scotland ... and of Ireland"

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GREAT BRI 

Storing the -places risite 
Gmirrdsswners cqipcirvted, 
into the Crab ccrwL Lobsti 

, of EiiqlancL caul Hales, and/ 

1876-7. 




Dangerfield. Lith . "22 Bedford Street. Covent Garden . London 



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l?77 

^«^CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 



RETORTS 

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OK 



ENGLAND AND WALES, 

» • • • • • 

BY 

FRANK BUCKLAND and SPENCER VVALPOLE, Esqrs., 

INSPECTORS OF SALMON FISHERIES FOR ENGLAND AND WALES ; 



OF 



* 



SCOTLAND, 



BY 

FRANK BUCKLAND and SPENCER WALPOLE, Esqrs., 

INSPECTORS OF SALMON FISHERIES FOR ENGLAND AND WALES ; AND 

ARCHIBALD YOUNG, Esq., Advocate, 

COMMISSIONER OF SCOTCH SALMON FISHERIES ; 
AND OF 



IRELAND, 



BY 



J. ALOYSIUS BLAKE, Esq.; Major JOSEPH HAYES; and 
THOMAS F. BRADY, Esq., 

INSPECTORS OF IRISH FISHERIES. 



$rc£cntrtt Xa Son) &a\i&t$ at parliament fin Commantr at $?cr iflajcstii. 



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LONDON: 
PRINTED BY GEORGE E. EYRE AND WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE, 

PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY. 

FOR HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE. 



1877. 



[C— 1695.] Price 3s. 6d 



MAP OT 

GREAT BRITAIN 

Shewing the places v**" 1 kf '''■■ 
Cemndssimers appopnM to enquin 
into the. (rah and lobster fisheries 

,/ i; lfl l,u„i and WalM awicfShtlami. 

1876-7. 



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CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 

Zoo i 



REPORTS 

— — — " ' ' ■«■ " » ' i n ■ m a m i i iwiiw 

* V S 



ON THE 



OF 



ENGLAND AND WALES, 



BY 



FRANK AUCKLAND and SPENCER WALPOLE, Esqrs., 

INSPECTORS OF SALMON FISHERIES EOR ENGLAND AND WALES ; 



OF 







SCOTLAND, 



BY 

FRANK BUCKLAND and SPENCER WALPOLE, Esqrs., 

INSPECTORS OF SALMON FISHERIES FOR ENGLAND AND WALES ; AND 

ARCHIBALD YOUNG, Esq., Advocate, 

COMMISSIONER OF SCOTCH SALMON FISHERIES ; 
AND OF 



IRELAND, 

BY 

J. ALOYSIUS BLAKE, Esq.; Major JOSEPH HAYES; and 
THOMAS F. BRADY, Esq., 

INSPECTORS OF IRISH FISHERIES. 

Prrtfrntrtr to fcotf) $?ousrs" of Parliament in Commantr of $cr iHajrsty. 



I 



V 

o 




LONDON: 
PRINTED BY GEORGE E. EYRE AND WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE, 

PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY. 

FOR HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE. 



[C— 1695.] Price 3s. 6d. 



1877. 



CONTENTS, 



MAP - -Faces title. 

Pages 

REPORT (ENGLAND AND WALES) - - - i to xxi 

REPORT (SCOTLAND} i to xvi 

REPORT (IRELAND) i to iii 

Appendix to Report (England and Wales) — Evi- 
dence - - - - - - 1 to 70 

Index to Evidence - - - - /I to 80 

Appendices to Report (Scotland) — 

I. Evidence - - - - 1 to 64 

II. List of Herring Fishery Board Officers - 65 
Index to Evidence - - - - 67 to 74 

Joint Apendices to English and Scotch Reports: 

I. Norway Lobster Fisheries - - - 1 to 2 

II. Natural History of Crabs and Lobsters - 3 to 21 

III. Diagrams, Nos. 1 to 8. 

Appendix to Report (Ireland) - - - - 1 to 4 



REPORT 



ON THE 



CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 



OF 



ENGLAND AND WALES. 

BY 

FRANK BUCKLAND and SPENCER WALPOLE, Esqrs., 

INSPECTORS OF SALMON FISHERIES FOR ENGLAND AND WALES, 



40353. H.O.L. A 2 



CRAB AND LOB&TER FISHERIES. 



c^ 



REPO R T 

ON THE 



CRAB AND LOBSTEK FISHERIES 



OF 



ENGLAND AND WALES. 



Home Office, Whitehall, 
Sir, 1st March 1877. 

In obedience to your instructions of the 13th September Proceedings of 
1876, we have the honour to inform you that we have held a Commis- 
careful and protracted inquiry into the condition of the Crab and S1 
Lobster Fisheries of England and Wales. 

In company with Mr. Young, one of the Commissioners of 
Scotch Salmon Fisheries, we have also held an inquiry into the 
condition of the Crab and Lobster Fisheries on the coasts of 
Scotland. The results of our inquiry in Scotland are commu- 
nicated by us to the Secretary of State in a separate report. 
We believe, however, that it will be found that the two reports 
are consistent with each other. 

The chief fisheries for crabs and lobsters in England and Wales Enumeration 
are in Northumberland, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Sussex, Hampshire, gJggjjJP 81 
Dorsetshire, Devonshire, and Cornwall The chief market for all 
fish is at Billingsgate, though there are of course other large 
provincial markets. The Norfolk fisheries formed the subject of 
a separate report presented to Parliament during the Session of 
1875. We have held sittings at North Sunderland and Culler- 
coats in Northumberland ; at Whitby, Scarborough, Kobin Hood's 
Bay, Flamborough, and Bridlington in Yorkshire ; at Cromer, 
in Norfolk ; at Looe, Polruan, Polperro, Mevagissey, Falmouth, 
St. Mawes, Durgan, Cadgwith, Penzance, and Sennen in Cornwall ; 
at Plymouth, Wembury, Hope, Prawle, Hall Sands, and Budleigh 
Salterton in Devonshire ; at Hamble in Hampshire ; at Bognor 
in Sussex ; at Birmingham ; and at the Hall of the Fishmongers' 
Company in London. 

Among the numerous places on the coast which it has been 
our duty to visit, there has not been one where we have not been 
welcomed by the fishermen ; among the many witnesses whom it 
has been our duty to examine, there has hardly been one opposed 
to all legislative interference. Laws for the government of the 






ni5' 



11 

fishery were asked for, both in those places where it was admitted 
that the fishery was falling off, as well as in those where no 
failure could be traced. 

The evidence which we thus obtained was of such importance 
that we have printed our notes of it in an appendix to this 
Report. As we had not the advantage of the services of a 
shorthand writer, the evidence, of course, appears in less detail 
than is usual in similar documents. 

We are now in a position to make the following report : — 

English The English markets are mainly supplied with lobsters from 

TOp r pliidwhh Cornwall and the south coast of England; from the Orkneys 

shell fish. and Hebrides in Scotland ; and from the west coast of Ireland. 

Lobsters are also imported from Norway, France, and Sweden. 

The first of these countries sends annually about 600,000, the 

second of them 200,000, lobsters to Billingsgate. 

Crabs are caught on the south and east coasts of England, in 
nearly every part of Scotland, and in Ireland. We exclude 
from this report all reference to Scotland and Ireland, which 
form the subjects of separate reports. 

Billingsgate used formerly to be the great centre of the supply 
to all inland towns. Since the construction of railways the 
great towns, which used to be supplied from London, are sup- 
plied direct from the coast. Crabs and lobsters used in former 
years to be brought to London in welled smacks. The welled 
smacks were long ago superseded by steamers ; the steamers 
have since been superseded by the railways. 

Crabs and lobsters are sold in different ways in different parts 
of the country. In Billingsgate crabs are sold by the barrel or 
the "kit;" lobsters by the "turn." A turn of lobsters consists of 
different sized fish. The smallest fish are called "Worst Nancy/' 
the slightly larger fish " Best Nancy ;" * these are small lobsters 
9f and 8 inches in length respectively. 80 fish — 40 Best Nancies, 
and 40 W T orst Nancies — make a turn. A turn may also consist 
of '' Best Doubles ;" these lobsters are larger than the best nancy ; 
40 of them make a turn. A score and a half of large lobsters 
also make a turn, which in this case consists of 20 large and 
10 still larger lobsters. A fishmonger, however, who requires 
10 of the largest lobsters is obliged to take (according to the 
custom of the trade) a turn of " Nancies," and " Best Doubles " 
as well. In another sense, therefore, a turn may be said to 
consist of 40 Best Nancies, 40 Worst Nancies, 40 Best Doubles, 
and a score and a half of large lobsters. 

On the coast, crabs and lobsters are usually sold by number or 
by the " dozen." All fish under a certain gauge (the gauge vary- 
ing in different localities, and being fixed by the local merchants,) 
go 2 for 1. In some parts of Cornwall a " dozen " consists of 26 fish 
over the gauge, or 52 fish under the gauge. In Bognor, how- 

* We are unahle to ascertain the origin of the word " nancy ;" hut small lobsters 
are known as "nintycocks " on the north-east coast of England, and the name is 
evidently a corruption of the same word. 



Ill 



ever, crabs and lobsters are both sold by weight ; and the small 
crabs on the north-east coast are also sold by weight. 

Crabs and lobsters form the most important species of Natural history 
the stalk-eyed Crustacea. The principal crab eaten in this o f crabs and 
country is the Cancer Paguvus. Only one species of lobster — 
the Homarus Vulgaris — is found off the coasts of Great Britain. 
In using the word " crab/' then, we shall always in this report 
refer to the Cancer Pagurus. The word " lobster," in the follow- 
ing pages, similarly refers to the Homarus Vulgaris alone. 

Till a comparatively very recent period, little was known of 
the natural history of the numerous Crustacea. No naturalist 
had made it his special business to observe the metamorphoses 
to which these creatures are liable. Various opinions were en- 
tertained by the highest authorities on the subject ; and the 
minute Zoea, which have since been proved to be the young 
of the different kinds of Crustacea, were commonly classed as 
distinct forms of life. About the year 1770, a Dutch natu- 
ralist, Slabber, discovered that one of these Zoea, which he 
kept in captivity for the purpose of observation, entirety changed 
its appearance on the third and fourth days of its detention. 
The metamorphosis was so complete that some of Slabber's 
critics doubted whether, in renewing the salt water, he had 
not accidentally released his original captive, and imprisoned 
a new one. Subsequent inquiries leave little room, however, for 
disputing the accuracy of Slabber's observations. In 1823 Mr. 
Vaughan Thompson " established the remarkable fact that those 
" anomalous forms which constituted the genus Zoea of Bosc are 
" nothing more than the early or larvae condition of the higher 
" Crustacea." Mr. Thompson succeeded in keeping one of the 
larger Zoea, and in watching the same metamorphosis which 
Slabber had observed. He succeeded in hatching the ova of the 
common crab, and in establishing the fact that the produce " were 
" true Zoeas" The late Mr. Couch (whose elaborate researches 
into the history of almost every form of ocean life have made his 
name a household word among ichthyologists) repeated Mr. 
Thompson's experiments. He also succeeded in hatching out the 
ova of the Cancer Pagurus, and in watching the young through 
two distinct metamorphoses. 

The reader, who may wish to pursue the subject further, will 
find illustrations of the earlier stages both of the lobster and 
the crab in the interesting introduction to Bell's History of the 
British Stalk-eyed Crustacea,"* and in Mr. Spence Bate's paper in 
the Philosophical Transactions. We may take this opportunity 
of saying that we are much indebted to these works for the 
information with which we have been enabled to preface this 
report. In a public report of this description, however, it would 
be" impossible to follow out the subject more minutely ; but one 
of us, Mr. Buckand, has, in an appendix,! given detailed results 



Loudon, Van Voorst & Co. f Joint Appendix No. II. 



IV 



of his observations and experiments undertaken, during the 
period of this inquiry, with a view to elucidate the subject. 

In the earlier stages of their development, these Crustacea, 
like all others, assume forms which are totally dissimilar from 
their subsequent appearance. But, when all their metamorphoses 
are complete, their subsequent growth is still marvellous. The 
crab measuring an inch across its back, the lobster measuring 
an inch in the barrel, are as perfect in form and structure as the 
largest crabs and lobsters. Both the crab and the lobster 
in their minutest forms are surrounded with a hard calca- 
reous armour-like tegument. The covering cannot by any 
possibility expand ; and how is it possible for the animal to 
grow without increasing its shell ? The problem is solved by the 
creature withdrawing itself entirely from its shell, having pre- 
viously secreted a new and larger covering for its future use. 

A most remarkable circumstance connected with tins episode 
in the natural history of the higher Crustacea is that the animal, 
when it withdraws itself from its shell, is always considerably 
larger than the shell from which it is withdrawn. Since the soft 
new shell, in which the creature is already encased, immediately 
commences to harden, its growth could be effected by no 
other arrangement. But the marvellous fact still remains, that 
the creature is enabled to withdraw itself from its cast shell, and 
that the shell from which it has withdrawn itself is as perfect 
and unbroken as ever. 

The plates which accompany this report will show, more 
distinctly than mere words can express, the growth of the crab 
on casting its shell. (Plate No. 6.) 

It would materially have facilitated our labours if we had any 
reliable data to show at what periods crabs and lobsters cast 
their shells. We reproduce, for this purpose, the observations of 
a French naturalist on the subject^ which have already appeared 
in the Report on the Fisheries of Norfolk.* These observations 



* According to some careful observations made at the Marine Laboratory, Con- 
carneau, it appears that, the first year, the lobster sheds his shell six times, the second 
year six times, the third year four times, the fourth year three times. 

The following table shows the rate of growth in a lobster after each shedding of 
its shell : — 





Sheddings. 


Length. 


"Weight. 








inches. 


ozs. drachms. 






8th 


2 


- If 






9th 


H 


— n 






10th 


*k 


H 






11th 


3 


~ 5 f 






12th 


H 


— H 






13th 


4 


— 104 






14th 


H 


i 4 





{Vide Parliamentary Paper, No. 428, Session 1875.) 



would seem to prove that, in the earlier phases of their existence, 
the lobster and the crab cast their shells repeatedly within the 
year. It is, we think, tolerably certain that adult female crabs 
only cast their shells once in each year. But the larger crabs 
either do not cast their shells at all, or cast them only at remote 
intervals. Oysters of considerable age are occasionally found 
attached to the back of a crab ; and, as the oyster never attaches 
itself except immediately after its birth, it follows that the crab 
cannot have cast its shell during the whole lifetime of the oyster. 

Crabs which have cast their shells are known by various 
names. They are called * casters," " light crabs," " white-footed 
crabs," " white-livered crabs," and " soft crabs." When the new 
shell commences to harden, but is still brittle, they receive in 
some places the expressive name of " glass crabs." In this report 
we have applied the ordinary term, " soft crabs," to all crabs 
in this condition. 

When the she crab has shed her shell, she appears almost 
invariably to retire to some comparatively safe hole in a rock. 
In this position she is usually under the protection of a male. 
Mr. Couch conceived long ago that impregnation takes place at 
this period. Mr. Couch's opinion is shared by observant fisher- 
men in every portion of the country, who had probably never 
heard of Mr. Couch's theory, but who, from their own observa- 
tions, had arrived at the same conclusion. During the earlier 
stages of pregnancy the " coral," i.e., ova, are carried inside the 
shell of the crab. During the later stages they are extruded, 
and attached to some delicate appendages placed beneath the 
crab's tail for the purpose. Crabs from which the berries or coral 
have been thus extruded are called " berried " crabs, " seed " 
crabs, " spawn " crabs, and " ran " crabs. They are spoken of in 
this report as st berried " crabs. 

There are both positive and negative reasons for conceiving 
that the female cra,b, when the berries are extruded, migrates to 
some warm sandy plateau more suited for the development of the 
zoea than the rocky shores which form her usual habitat. The 
negative evidence, on which we found this inference, consists of 
the fact that, though Cornwall produces larger and finer crabs 
than any county in Great Britain, berried crabs are hardly ever 
taken on the coast. The positive evidence to the same effect is 
found in the circumstance that berried crabs are taken by the 
trawlers in the English Channel, and in the very remarkable fact, 
which we learned at Scarborough, that berried crabs are con- 
stantly taken in large numbers off the Texel, and no crabs except 
female crabs are ever found there. 

So far as we can gather, the habits of the crab are nearly 
similar in every part of the United Kingdom. But the seasons 
for eating crabs vary in a very striking way, and for a very 
remarkable reason. In Scotland the crabs which are the most 
highly prized are the females, with red coral or ova inside 
their shells. A female crab in Scotland is more valuable than a 
male crab. In England, on the contrary, the female crab is 



VI 



Manner of 
conducting 
fishery for 
crabs and 
lobsters. 



less appreciated. A very influential witness at Penzance went 
the extreme length of saying that they were "no good," and 
ought not to be caught at all. In Scotland, therefore, crabs are 
chiefly eaten in the summer and early autumn, when the females 
are in best condition. In England, on the contrary, crabs are 
considered at their best in the early spring, when the male is 
most full of meat. 

The natural history of the lobster generally resembles the 
natural history of the crab. The lobster, like the crab, in the 
earliest stages of its growth, bears a form wholty different from 
that of its adult state. The lobster, like the crab, has the power 
of casting its hard shell and of forming a new shell. The lobster, 
like the crab, carries its ova during the earlier period of pregnancy 
inside its shell; like the crab, it has the power at a later 
period of extruding them and of fastening them to the delicate 
appendages which are placed for the purpose under its tail. 

The fishery for crabs and lobsters is conducted in every part of 
the Kingdom in the same manner. Traps made of wicker-work, or 
of a wicker frame covered with netting, and usually known as 
" pots " or " creels," are almost universally used. The pot is baited 
with some fish, fresh fish being preferred for crabs, and stinking 
fish for lobsters, and sunk in from 3 fathom to 45 fathom water. 
The crabs and lobsters enter the pot in search of the food 
through a hole or pipe 4J to 5 inches in diameter, and are found 
in it when the pots are examined. The pot or creel, therefore, 
acts on the principle of an ordinary mousetrap. The number of 
creels which a boat will carry varies in different localities, In 
some places as many as 100 creels, in others as few as 20, are 
carried by a single boat. But in every case the creels are left 
unattended by the fishermen, and only periodically examined 
(usually towards dawn) by the owners. A creel, therefore, is a 
fixed engine, perpetually fishing during the whole crab and lobster 
fishing season, and only requiring the occasional attendance of 
the fishermen. 

Creels, however, simple engines though they be, have only 
recently been introduced into some places. The fishermen used 
to fish with a much more primitive and less efficacious engine. 
An iron ring had a small net attached to it in the shape of a 
purse. The net was baited and let down. The fisherman con- 
stantly examined the ring to see if there were any fish on it, 
and the pressure of the water on the ring while it was being- 
drawn up for examination prevented any lobsters or crabs, which 
happened to have been attracted by the bait, from escaping. 
The ring therefore required the constant attention of the fisher- 
man, and a boat could not use more rings than the fishermen 
connected with it could constantly examine. The substitution of 
creels for rings, therefore, enabled each fisherman to work more 
traps than he could before, and to work them with very much 
less labour to himself. It replaced a comparatively inefficient 
engine with a very much more efficient one. 

Having disposed of these preliminary remarks, we proceed 



Vll 

to examine the condition of the crab and lobster fisheries in 
different parts of this country. 

The principal fisheries for crabs and lobsters arc on the coasts Condition of 
of Northumberland, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Sussex, Hampshire, es : 

Dorsetshire, Devonshire, and Cornwall. We have therefore mainly 
directed our inquiries to these coasts. In Northumberland we sat 1. Northum- 
at North Sunderland and Cullercoats. We had the advantage berland - 
at these places of meeting also the fishermen from Beednell, 
Craster, Hawxley, and Newbiggin ; so we practically obtained 
representative evidence from every portion of the coast of North- 
umberland. We had witnesses before us at North Sunderland 
who recollected the time when the lobsters caught on that coast 
were sent away in welled smacks to London, and when crabs did 
not pay the cost of carriage to market. The construction of the 
North-Eastern railway altered the conditions on which the fishery 
had previously been carried on. Crabs became profitable, and 
rose in price to 4s. Gd. a score. The increase of price induced 
more fishermen to follow the trade. The number of boats in- 
creased, and each boat carried more gear and more efficient gear. 
The old " trunks," or iron rings, were discarded, and creels were 
introduced. Increased fishing led indubitably to a decrease in 
the number of the fish. The average take of lobsters per boat 
has been reduced from about 12 to about 3 per day. A witness 
told us that "when he was a lad he could with his present 
" tackle have got 50 score crabs in a night. The most they ever 
" got last year was 22 score." The failure at Craster and North 
Sunderland " began to be perceptible about 25 years ago." 
Some of this decrease is no doubt accounted for by the altered con- 
ditions of the fishery. If the number of boats fishing a given space 
of ground is doubled, each boat has no right to expect to obtain as 
many fish as it would have done with only half the number of 
competitors. The whole take has to be divided into more shares, 
and each share is of course diminished. We have, however, \evy 
little doubt that both crabs and lobsters are decreasing in quan- 
tity at North Sunderland, and that the decrease is likely to 
continue if no means are taken to check it. 

There are, indeed, reasons for fearing that this decrease will in 
future years become more marked. Up to the last few years the 
fishing season for crabs and lobsters commenced in December and 
ended in May or June. During the last few years the fishermen 
of Beednell, a fishing village near Craster, have commenced fishing 
in October. The fish which they then caught were crabs, and 
the crabs thus caught were soft and almost worthless. Some of 
the Beednell fishermen themselves confessed that the October 
fishing is wasteful and ought to be stopped. They have the 
prudence to see that they are themselves destroying their future 
harvests, and they would welcome legislation which would save 
them from the consequences of their own acts. 

The evidence, which we received at Cullercoats corresponds 
with that which was offered us at North Sunderland. The 
fishermen have no doubt whatever that the crabs and lobsters 



Vlll 

are decreasing. The decrease has, in fact, been so marked that 
it has actually, in some cases, led to diminished fishing. It 
was suggested to us that the decrease was attributable to the 
very considerable operations which are in progress for improving 
the navigation of the Tyne. The Tyne Navigation Commis- 
sioners have dredged annually some 500,000 tons of clay and 
other stuff from the bed of the river, have placed it in barges 
called "hoppers," and carried it out to sea. The alkali manufac- 
turers have, concurrently, disposed of their refuse in the same 
way. The fishermen allege that this refuse has in some cases 
settled on the rocky ground near the mouth of the river ; that it 
has had the effect of covering up the holes in which the crabs 
and lobsters live ; that the character of the sea bottom has been 
gradually altered ; and that it has been made less and less suit- 
able for crabs and lobsters ; and that the crabs especially have 
fallen off in consequence. We are far from saying that no atten- 
tion should be paid to this allegation ; we think it probable that 
these operations may have had a very pernicious effect on the crab 
•and lobster fisheries at the mouth of the Tyne; but we cannot 
believe that they form the only or even the chief cause of the 
decrease of these fisheries. The failure which we found at 
Cullercoats is almost as marked at North Sunderland, and the 
fisheries off North Sunderland are not injured by any operations 
such as those which have been conducted at the mouth of the 
Tyne for the last 20 years. It is a fair inference that the cause 
which is affecting crabs and lobsters at North Sunderland is 
also affecting the fisheries at Cullercoats, and that we therefore 
ought to search for a cause common to both places, and not for 
a reason singular to only one of them. 

We are disposed, then, to conclude that Cullercoats, like North 
Sunderland, is suffering from over-fishing, and this conclusion is 
assisted by reviewing the state of things which exists at an 
intermediate village, Hawxley. We are assured that there is no 
decrease either of crabs or of lobsters at Hawxley. " There are as 
" many crabs and lobsters as there were 15 years ago," said the first 
of the three Hawxley witnesses whom we had before us. " The 
" lobsters are just as thick as they were the first day he went to 
'•' sea," said the second of them. " There is no decrease at Hawxley," 
said the third. But the Hawxley men have been in the habit of 
keeping a close season from June to October, and of returning all 
undersized crabs and lobsters. The success which has attended 
these self-imposed rules at Hawxley points to their extension to 
other places ; and, as a matter of fact, the fishermen throughout 
Northumberland are in favour of some such rules as these. " The 
■- universal opinion at Craster," said one fisherman to us, "is that 
" the close season should commence on the 1st June and end on 
" the 30th November." The Craster, North Sunderland, and Beed- 
nell fishermen are unanimous in thinking that no crab under 
4J inches across the back, and no lobster under 4 inches in the 
barrel, should be taken. Much the same recommendations were 
made to us at Cullercoats. No crab, it was suggested, should be 



IX 

taken under 4 inches across the back, no lobster under 4 inches 
in the barrel, and a close season during June, July, and August, 
or during June, July, August, and September, should be observed. 
We shall consider, in a later portion of this report, the possibility 
of giving effect to these recommendations ; we thought it our duty 
to note them here. 

The fisheries for crabs and lobsters off the coast of Yorkshire 2. Yorkshire 
are at least as important as those off the coast of Northumberland. 
We held sittings at W^hitby, Robin Hood's Bay, Scarborough, 
Flamborough, and Bridlington. At Whitby we had the advantage 
of obtaining witnesses from the important fishing town of Staithes, 
and the fishermen whom we had before us were [acquainted with 
the whole Yorkshire Coast. " Crabs have undoubtedly decreased 
" both in size and number," said the first witness whom we 
examined at Whitby. " The crabs are not so numerous as they 
" were 11 years ago/' the "lobsters are also decreasing," said the 
second witness. " Lobsters have been falling off gradually for 
" the last 50 years " ; " the crabs have fallen off in numbers," 
were the conclusions of the witnesses from Staithes. " The crabs 
" are not so plentiful as they used to be ; they have been dimin- 
" ishing in number every year for the last 20 years/' " There 
" were twice as many crabs in the sea in 1837 as there are now/' 
Such were the opinions of all the fishermen at Robin Hood's Bay. 
" There are fewer crabs in the sea than there were — a good deal 
" fewer. The lobsters are also fewer." This was the declaration 
of an experienced fisherman at Scarborough, which was strikingly 
confirmed by subsequent witnesses. It may therefore be taken 
for granted that from the North of Yorkshire to Filey Brigg, 
the southernmost boundary of the Scarborough fishery, there 
has been a gradual and serious decrease in the yield of both crabs 
and lobsters. 

Nor are the fishermen unanimous only in pointing to the fact 
of a decrease. They are equally agreed in attributing the de- 
crease to over-fishing. At Whitby, at Scarborough, and at Bobin 
Hood's Bay the fishermen desire to prohibit the capture of all 
lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel. At the two former places 
they are anxious that all crabs under 4J inches across the back 
should be spared, while at Bobin Hood's Bay they desire to kill 
all over 4 inches. At Flamborough and at Bridlington, indeed, 
we heard a somewhat different story. Some of the fishermen 
thought that there was no decrease ; others of them were of opinion 
that there was no decrease in number, but that the fish were 
smaller in size. It was proved to us at Bridlington that 30 years 
ago few small crabs were caught at all. The fishermen avoided the 
submarine plateau of sand near the quay, where the small crabs are 
known to congregate, and which is probably a great nursery for 
them. Of late years, however, this submarine plateau has been 
the chief fishing place. The railways have created an enormous 
trade in small crabs which are taken to the great manufacturing 
towns of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the midland counties. One 
witness told us that many a night he has caught 300 of these little 



crabs, which are usually sold for 2d. or 3d. a score. Some of the 
fishermen insisted that if this trade were stopped they would be 
unable to earn a livelihood, and would be thrown with their 
families on the parish. It was satisfactory, however, to find 
that a minority among them were conscious of the waste which 
they were occasioning, and anxious to put an end to it. An old 
fisherman, with 48 years' experience, told us that he and two 
other men had a 4J-inch gauge made last year, and actually 
agreed to take no crab below this gauge. He urged us strongly to 
assent to no gauge of a smaller size. We shall consider, in its 
proper place, the practicability of these recommendations. We 
need only remark here that all the fishermen at Flamborough and 
Bridlington are ready to accept a 4-inch barrel gauge for lobsters 
and that they are unanimously in favour of a gauge for crabs, 
some of them desiring to fix this gauge at 4, other at 4 J inches. 
3. Cornwall. The fisheries of Cornwall and Devonshire are in a somewhat 

different position from those of Northumberland and York- 
shire. If reference be made to a map of Cornwall, it will be 
seen that two promontories, known respectively as the Lizard 
and the Land's End, stretch into the English Channel and the 
Atlantic Ocean. Both these promontories are exposed to heavy 
seas. Storms constantly interfere with the calling of the fisher- 
men, and the weather itself imposes a natural close season with- 
out the intervention of Parliament. At both these places we 
can trace little or no falling off in the fisheries. " Crabs and 
" lobsters are no scarcer than they were/' " There are more 
" crabs and lobsters than ever." Such was the story which we 
heard at Sennen Cove, near the Land's End. " There is nothing 
" the matter with the fishery." " Lobsters are in about the 
" same quantity they were 20 years ago." " The crabs are more 
" plentiful than they were." Such was the opinion of expe- 
rienced fishermen at Cadgwith, a fishing village near the Lizard. 
In both these places, therefore, — one of which, the Land's 
End, is chiefly celebrated for its lobsters, the other, the Lizard, 
lor its crabs, — there is no trace of any decrease. But in other 
parts of Cornwall a very different story was told to us. " The 
" fishery is now quite different from what it used to be. Formerly 
" fish were more plentiful and the price was less ; now the price 
" is greater and fish are scarcer. Forty years ago a fisherman 
" could catch as many crabs in a day as he would now catch in 
" a week . . . Lobsters are also getting scarcer every year," Such 
was the evidence at St. Mawes. " There are fewer crabs than 
" there were 20 years ago ; lobsters also are scarcer." " Crabs 
" and lobsters are decreasing ; they are overfished." This was 
the story at Durgan. A fisherman at Penberth was " sure the 
" fish are falling off." " The fish are not a quarter so thick as 
" they were formerly " in Prussia Cove, " unless you go a long 
a way off." " The grounds inshore have been fished out, and the 
men have to go to deeper water." Such was the evidence at 
Penzance. The same story may be gathered from the evidence 
in other places. Where the ground is small and sheltered the 



XI 



fishery is decaying. Where it is exposed to the sea, as at 
the Lizard and the Land's End, or at some distance from the 
shore, as at Gorran, near Mevagissey, there is no clear proof 
of any decrease whatever. The whole of the Cornish evidence 
may, in fact, be summed up in the sentence that the fisheries 
in bays require protection, but that the large fisheries off head- 
lands or in the deep water need no protection from the Legis- 
lature. 

The conditions of Devonshire in some respects resemble those 4. Devonshire, 
of Cornwall. The finest crabs in the world are caught off the 
Start Point, and we had the opportunity of examining witnesses 
belonging to Beeson Sands, Hall Sands, Prawle, Hope, Wembury, 
and Plymouth, whose evidence discloses the condition of the 
fishery all round this headland.- " There is no lack of fish" at 
Hall Sands. " The crabs have not fallen off " at Beeson Sands. 
" There are as many crabs now as there were 35 years ago " at 
Hope. " The fishery is in good condition " at Wembury. The 
only contradiction to this universal testimony was given at 
Prawle and Plymouth. At Prawle there appears to be an 
undoubted decrease in the number of crabs ; but the fishery at 
Prawle, though on the extreme end of the promontory, is a very 
small one, extending only half a mile to the east and half a mile 
to the west of the point. It appears, again, from the evidence at 
Plymouth, that the crabs immediately outside the breakwater are 
diminishing in numbers. But this evidence does not militate 
against our conclusion that exposed fisheries of large areas require 
little or no protection, The fishermen who gave us this 
evidence spoke of the ground within three miles of Plymouth 
breakwater, and this ground is only so exposed in certain 
winds. There has been a greater increase of fishing upon it than 
almost in any other place we have visited. The fishermen, 
moreover, complain that it is partially destroyed by the refuse 
from the Vitriol Works at Plymouth which is carried in 
barges out to sea and tipped into the water outside the break- 
water. This evidence, of course, resembles that which we 
received at Cullercoats, and it tallies with it in one respect in a 
very remarkable way. The fishermen at Cullercoats declared 
that the lobsters had not suffered from the pollution so much as 
the crabs, and they professed themselves unable to account for 
! the different effects of the refuse on the two fish. The fishermen 
at Plymouth also noticed that the pollution had had a less pre- 
judicial effect on the lobster than on the crab fishery, and they 
accounted for the circumstance by stating that the lobster, being 
quicker than the crab, got out of the way of the pollution. 
Whether this explanation be correct or not, it is at least remark- 
able that, at the two places at which our attention was drawn to 
the consequences of pollution, the effects should have been 
observed on the crabs and not on the lobsters. 

The conclusion which we formed in Cornwall and in the 
neighbourhood of the Start agrees also with the evidence which 
we received in the extreme East of Devonshire at Budleigh Sal- 



Xll 



Sussex. 



Are the crab 
and lobster 
fisheries 
increasing or 
decreasing. 



terfcon. The fishermen there have two grounds at their disposal : 
one off some rocks, known as the Exeters, out at sea ; the other 
inshore. There is little or no decrease off the Exeters, but there 
is " a greater decrease in the inshore ground." Bognor, on the 
coast of Sussex, in some respects resembles Budleigh Salterton. 
There are some rocks called the Owers 12 miles out to sea, where 
there is a considerable fishery, and there are no indications of 
any failure on these rocks. But the inshore fishery is in a 
different condition. The bottom of the sea is a warm plateau of 
mud and sand covered with weed, which is apparently a nursery 
for small Crustacea. The smallest lobsters in England are caught 
on this plateau, and very small crabs are also taken in the 
immediate neighbourhood off Selsea. The fishermen consider 
that the lobsters come here from other places for the purpose 
of reproduction, and they assert that there are no indications 
of any diminution in the number of these Crustacea. It is 
universally admitted, however, that the crab fishery at Selsea is 
declining in importance, and that there are not one third so 
many crabs as there used to be. It ought to be added that 
Bognor is more dependent on its prawn fishery than on either 
lobsters or crabs, and that the little lobsters are taken with the 
prawns in the prawn pots. 

We have thus endeavoured to relate some of the salient points in 
the natural history of the lobster and of the crab ; to describe the 
manner in which the crab and lobster fisheries are conducted ; and 
to review the condition of the principal fisheries on the coasts of 
this country. It remains for us, in conclusion, to sum up the 
facts which we have thus related, and to enumerate the rules 
which, in our judgment, should be adopted for the regulation of 
these fisheries. 

In a great many cases it is not very easy to conclude whether 
the fishery is falling off or not. The increase in price is certainly 
in almost every case greater than the decrease in the supply. The 
take in many cases is not so large as it used to be, but in 
nearly every place it is more valuable. The increased price, 
and the greater facilities which railways have afforded for 
bringing the fish to market, have attracted more fishermen 
to the pursuit, and have induced them to follow the crabs and 
lobsters into much deeper water than formerly. It is no very easy 
matter, therefore, to compare the results of the fishing now with 
those which were experienced 50 or 25 years ago, The take 
now is divided among a greater number of fishermen. The area 
of the fishery has been largely extended. On the whole, 
however, we believe that we are in the right in concluding that 
in small fisheries, or fisheries in confined areas, there has been in 
every case a marked decrease of fish ; while in large and exposed 
fisheries there has been no decrease whatever. Take, for 
example, the fisheries off the Land's End, the Lizard, and the 
Start. All these fisheries comprise large areas of sea-bottom, all 
of them are in exposed situations, and the powers of man have 
been hitherto incapable of exhausting them. But there are other 



Xlll 



lobsters. 



fisheries in an exactly opposite position. A description will be 
found, for instance, in the evidence which we received at Wembury, 
relating to a small fishery off the Eddystone Rocks. The fishery is 
contained in a few acres, and, though the situation is exposed, the 
area is so small that the fishermen have been able to exhaust it. 
The same conclusion is true of the fisheries which are situated in 
confined bays, such, for instance, as that at Falmouth. The 
fishermen there, exposed to no bad weather, are able to pursue the 
fishery at every season of the year. High prices have induced 
them to increase the efficiency of their gear, and the gradual 
decay of the fishery, which over-fishing has occasioned, has com- 
pelled them to fish harder and harder to earn a livelihood. The 
fishermen in these cases are themselves conscious of the loss which 
they are themselves producing. Bat without the aid of Parliament 
they are unable to enforce the regulations which in their judgment 
would restore the fishery. 

As regards the lobster fishery, three suggestions have been Suggestions 
made to us for its improvement, viz., the institution of a gauge; t h e fishery: — 
the enactment of a close season ; and the prohibition of the sale of 
berried lobsters ; but the suggestion which has found most univer- 
sal favour is the institution of a gauge. In Cornwall and Devon- 
shire, in Yorkshire and Northumberland, the fishermen have almost Gauge for 
without exception suggested that no lobster should be sold under a 
length of about 8 inches. The same recommendation was made 
to us by the great fish merchants who are established at Hamble, 
and by the great salesmen in Billingsgate Market. The lobster, 
it must be stated, is not measured in the same way in all parts of 
the country. On the north-east coast it is usual to measure it 
from the tip of the beak to the end of the body or " barrel." At 
Billingsgate, at Hamble, and on the whole of the coasts of 
Devonshire and Cornwall, the lobster is measured from the tip 
of the beak to the end of the tail. On the north-east coast of 
England it was suggested to us that no lobster should be taken 
under 4 inches in the barrel. In the rest of England the almost 
unanimous recommendation was that no lobster should be taken 
under 8 inches in length. These two recommendations are 
practically very similar. A lobster 4 inches long in the barrel is 
usually rather more than 8 inches in length ; but, as it is always 
undesirable to interfere with local customs, we see no reason 
why both gauges should not be inserted in any Act of Parlia- 
ment that may be passed. It would then be illegal to sell any 
lobster which did not measure either 8 inches in length or 
4 inches in the barrel. 

If the gauge be adopted, it is in our judgment essential that it 
should apply to all the fish markets. The only practicable means 
of enforcing a gauge is to enforce it in the markets, and the 
gauge must therefore apply to all lobsters sold in those markets., 
wherever they may be taken. The only practical difficulty in 
enforcing the gauge arises from the large importation of Nor- 
wegian lobsters, and we think it would be unwise to attempt 

40353. T. 



XIV 

any legislation without considering the effect which it might 
have on this trade. 
Norwegian It is stated in Yice- Consul Crowe's report on the Norwegian 

lobster trade, fisheries for the year 1874, presented to Parliament in June 1875,* 
that " of lobsters there were exported during the year from — 
Christiansancl - - - 201,980 

Mandal - - - - 50,000 

Farsund - - - - 113,518 



365,518t 

" The average price is stated to be 5^d. 

" Comparing the results of the last three years, it will be seen 
" that in 1874 they were double those of the two preceding. 

a Thus :— 

Number of Lobsters. Value. 

1874 - - - 365,518 d£8,122 

1873 - - - 294,099 4,356 

1872 - - - 207,299 3,111" 

Mr. Crowe's figures are confirmed by the very important 
report from Consul-General Jones, which is published in an 
Appendix,J and for which we are indebted to the courtesy of the 
Foreign Office. " The annual take of lobsters in Norway/' says 
Mr. Jones, " may be estimated at about 1,000,000, representing a 
" value of about 22,500£. They are exported chiefly to the United 
" Kingdom, and this trade is rapidly increasing in importance, 
" according to the following returns : — 

Year. Number. Value. 

1876 - 

1875 - 

1874 - 

1873 - 

1872 - 

It is obvious, however, that Mr. Crowe's figures entirely refer 
to the trade of three particular ports, Christiansand, Mandal, 
and Farsund. Mr. Jones apparently reproduces, and continues 
to a later date, the same statistics. But the figures which are 
thus given cannot represent the whole export trade of Norway in 
lobsters. § We had the advantage, at our sitting in the Fish- 
mongers' Hal], of examining Mr. Fisher, a fish salesman of 



* Parliamentary Paper, "Commercial No. 11 (1875), Part IV [C. - 1238]." 

f Sic in report (p. 814), but there is apparently a misprint in the return from 
Farsund, which should probably be 113,538, instead of 113,518. 

X Joint Appendix, No. I. 

§ The author of " Sport in Norway," writing to Land and Water,Maj 25th, 1867, 
gives the following particulars concerning the trade in Norwegian lobsters : — "In 
" 1855 there were exported 814,187 lobsters; in 1856, 960,388 ; in 1857, 717,383 ; 
" in 1858, 553,238 ; in 1859, 881,261 ; in 1860, 1,333,137; in 1861, 1,480,699 ; in 
« 1862, 1,217,244." 



No 


returns. 


400,000 


,£8,889 


365,518 


8,122 


294,099 


4,356 


207,299 


3,111" 



Billingsgate, extensively engaged in the Norwegian lobster trade. 
" The supply," Mr. Fisher told us, " has fallen off during the last 
" seven years. 10 or 12 years ago he used to have about 
" 600,000 lobsters a year from Norway, from three districts only. 
" Is now working six districts (double the amount of coast), and 
" the six districts only produced last year from 400,000 to 
" 500,000 lobsters/' The purport of Captain Harnden's evidence, 
given to us at Hamble, is very similar, and leaves little room 
for doubting that there has been a very serious failing off in lobsters 
in Norway. The matter, in fact, has been before the Norwegian 
Parliament for three years running. " During the late session of 
" the Storthing," Mr. Jones writes, " a Koyal Proposition was laid 
" before it," that it should "be unlawful at any time to possess, 
" sell, buy, or receive lobsters under 8 inches in length, as well as 
" lobsters in spawn. The rejection of this amendent was, how- 
" ever, recommended by the Committee appointed to report upon 
" it, on the ground that those best acquainted with the subject 
" failed to recognise its necessity, and, further, that the enforce- 
" ment of the provisions of the proposed amendment would be 
" attended with much difficulty ; that from the statistical facts 
" before the committee there was no evidence of a diminution in 
" the supply of lobsters of late, and that consequently the circum- 
" stances did not warrant the adoption of the extraordinary 
" regulations proposed, which would be justifiable only when 
" there was a prospect that without such restrictions the fishery 
7 in question would materially suffer/' 

The rejection of this regulation has virtually left the Norwegian 
law in the position in which it has remained since 1848. By the 
law of 184& a close season for lobsters is instituted, commencing 
on the 15th July and ending at the close of September. The 
close season may be varied by the King's authority, but the whole 
month of August must always be closed. It is, of course, no 
portion of our duty in this report to pronounce an opinion on the 
policy of this law, or on the recent rejection of the proposal for 
its amendment ; but the English are so dependent on Norwegian 
lobsters that it would be folly for us to recommend the institution 
of any regulations which would be either inconsistent with the 
Norwegian laws, or have the effect of destroying the Norwegian 
trade. We concluded, therefore, that we could not do better 
than state the conditions under which the Norwegian fishing for 
lobsters has hitherto been conducted. 

It will be seen from the foregoing remarks that an 8-inch 
gauge has already been proposed in Norway. Of the two 
merchants engaged in the Norway trade, whom we had the 
advantage of examining, Mr. Fisher, of Billingsgate, was of 
opinion that an 8-inch gauge would interfere with the 
Norwegian fishery, but that a 7j-inch gauge would be de- 
sirable. Capt. Harnden, of Hamble, on the contrary, con- 
cluded that an 8-inch gauge would ultimately be beneficial to it. 
With Capt. Harnden's evidence before us, we think that Parlia- 

b 2 



XVI 



Bognor 
lobsters. 



Close season 
for lobsters. 



Berried 
lobsters. 



ment may fairly enact that, with one exception, no lobster shall 
in future be sold in this country under 8 inches in length. 

The exception which, we fear, must be made to this rule, 
applies to Bognor. Lobsters of a very small size are taken 
in large numbers off Bognor, and the application of an 8-inch 
gauge to Bognor would destroy the fishery for lobsters at that 
place. The fishermen at Bognor desire the institution of a 
G^-inch gauge ; we have, ourselves, little doubt that a 7-inch 
gauge would be large enough for the Bognor fishery. If, how- 
ever, the Bognor fishermen are allowed to take 7-inch lobsters, 
their sale should be confined within the limits of the county of 
Sussex. In that case it should be illegal to sell, in Sussex, any 
lobsters of less than 7 inches in length. Outside the county of 
Sussex it should be illegal to sell any lobster less than either 
8 inches long or 4 inches in the barrel. 

Two other recommendations have in some places been made to 
us for the improvement of the lobster fishery. It has been sug- 
gested to us that a close season should be instituted, and it has 
also been suggested that the sale of berried lobsters should be 
prohibited. A universal close season is impracticable, because 
the season which would suit one part of the coast would be 
quite inapplicable to other parts. In a great many places the 
storms of winter afford by themselves a sufficient close season. 
On the coast of Cornwall, again, the pilchard fishery practically 
entails a close season. The drift nets of the pilchard fishermen 
become entangled with the gear of the crabbers, and the latter 
have to remove their pots to save their property. On the east 
coast of England, again, the herring season affords a natural 
close time. The crabbers leave their pots to follow the herrings, 
which afford a more profitable industry. A close season is, then, 
for all intents and purposes, alread}^ established in some places. 
In others, no close season is necessary, on account of the extent 
and situation of the fishery. No universal close season need 
therefore be imposed by Act of Parliament. But we are inclined 
■bo think that the Secretary of State should have power to insti- 
tute local close seasons in certain districts ; this power, however,, 
should only be exercised after careful inquiry and with very 
great caution. 

We are also unable to endorse the other recommendation 
which has been made to us, viz., that the sale of berried lobsters 
should be prohibited. In the first place, if it were illegal to 
take berried lobsters, it would not pay the fishermen in many 
cases to pursue the lobster fishery. In the next place, the lobster 
when berried is in the very best possible condition for food, and 
it would be as illogical, therefore, to prohibit its capture as to 
prohibit the taking of full herrings. In the third place, if its 
capture were illegal, Mr. Sco veil's evidence at Hamble shows that 
the fishermen would probably remove the berries. The berries 
would no longer be seen in the market, but berried lobsters 
would be killed as much as ever. Berried lobsters are, it must 



XV11 



be remembered, especially valuable. The berries are in great 
demand for sauce and for garnish for fish and salad. We do not 
for one moment think that the views of professed cooks ought to 
influence legislation, or that our recommendations ought to be 
affected by the supposed requirements of the dinner table ; but it 
seems imuracticable to maKe anv legislation on the subject, first, 
because it is not desirable to deprive the public ot a large amount 
of valuable food, and the fisherman of a considerable portion of 
his profits ; and, second, because the prohibition of the sale of 
berried lobsters would lead to the removal of the berries. We 
recommend, therefore, the institution of a gauge as the only 
remedy universally applicable for the improvement of cur lobster 
fisheries. 

We are also of opinion that a gauge should be adopted for Gauge for 
crabs. But, on this point, we are met with a preliminary crabs - 
difficulty. In the west of England the crabs are all large, and 
a 5-inch gauge, or in some cases a 6-inch gauge, is required.* On 
the east coast, on the contrary, the crabs are very small, and a 
gauge of 4 inches, 4J, or 4J inches is recommended to us. The 
east coast fishermen conceive that the whole of England should 
be open to the sale of these small crabs. But this recommenda- 
tion we are unable to adopt. In our judgment the proper 
solution of the difficulty is to enact that in the six eastern 
counties, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lincoln, Norfolk, 
and Suffolk, no crab should be sold less than four and a quarter 
inches across the back, and that in the whole of the rest of the 
country no crab should be sold under five inches. The only 
danger from the institution of two gauges lies in the circumstance 
that the small crabs might be sent from Devonshire and sold in 
Yorkshire. But there is in reality no very great fear of this result ; 
the small crabs do not pay to carry long distances, and it will not 
pay therefore, as a general rule, to send them from the south to 
the east coast of England. The only place outside the eastern 
counties where the five-inch gauge will, so far as we know, be 
objected to is Selsea, and it is of course possible to get over the 
difficulty by sanctioning the sale of small crabs as well as small 
lobsters within the county of Sussex. There is a good deal to be 
said, from the Selsea point of view, for this arrangement. We 
are unable to endorse it ourselves, because we believe the Selsea 
crabs to be the young of a large crab, and not a small kind of 
crab like those on the east coast of England. The crab fishery 
at Selsea is moreover admittedly declining, and it requires there- 
fore strong measures to ensure its recovery. We therefore recom- 
mend that the 5-inch gauge shall apply to Selsea. 

There are two other methods b} T which the crab fishery may Berried crabs, 
be improved. Though the berried lobster is the most valuable of 



The gauge of course applies from side to side of the crab, and not from head to tail. 



markets. 



XV111 

lobsters, a berried crab is almost valueless. While it would 
be impolitic to enact that no berried lobster should be sold, 
there would be no difficulty in enacting that berried crabs should 
Soft crabs. not be sold. It is also most advisable that the sale of" soft" crabs 
should be prohibited. These fish are watery, have little or no 
meat in them, and are almost valueless as food. They ought 
to be returned to the sea to be permitted to recover and grow 
into marketable crabs. 
Enforcement. It will be observed, in the foregoing recommendations, that 
of law^in we have uniformly proposed to prohibit the sale, not the capture, 

of certain kinds of crabs and lobsters. We have done so for two 
reasons. In the first place "soft" crabs and undersized crabs 
are occasionally used by fishermen as bait for fish, and v/e are 
satisfied that the last thing which legislation should do is to inter- 
fere with the bait which fishermen may deem it requisite to employ. 
Bait is of more importance to the fisherman than anything else. 
A fisherman told us at Penzance that he would cut up a turbot 
worth a sovereign rather than be without bait ; and it is much 
better that crabs should be broken up for bait than that hundreds 
of men should be without employment for want of bait. When 
bait is scarce it is absolutely necessary to break up the small 
crabs as bait for wrasse, the wrasse being used, in their turn, as 
bait for crabs and lobsters. 

We believe, moreover, that the only practical way of carrying 
out any law is to enforce it in the markets. It would require an 
army of bailiffs to enforce it on the coast. But the sale of small 
crabs, soft crabs, and berried crabs can easily be prevented, 
because it is the interest of the trade not to sell them. The 
small crabs do not pay the tradesman ; the soft crabs and berried 
crabs injure his business by giving it a bad name. We conceive, 
therefore, that there is no very serious difficulty in carrying out 
the law in the markets, though there is no possibility of enforcing 
it on the coasts. So far as London is concerned, the Second 
Warden of the Fishmongers' Company expressed to us the 
willingness of the Company to direct their officers to enforce the 
gauge in the Billingsgate Market.* We recommend, therefore, that 
these officers should receive express authority from Parliament 
for the purpose. We have very little doubt that the civic 
authorities in the other large markets will assist in the same 
way. The law, therefore, should, for the above reasons, be a 
law of sale and not a law of capture. 

In expressing this conclusion, we have not overlooked the very 
important evidence which we received towards the close of our 
inquiry at Birmingham. Birmingham is the great fish market 
of central England. Fish of all kinds are sent to Birmingham 
from every part of the United Kingdom, and are distributed 
-from Birmingham, not merely in the Black Country and its 
immediate neighbourhood, but in Hereford, Aberystwith, and 

* Appendix to Keport, Evidence, page 30. 



XIX 

other far distant places. The salesmen at Birmingham are 
unanimously in favour of a law for the protection of undersized 
crabs and lobsters, and for the prevention of the sale of soft 
crabs and berried crabs ; though they are also unanimously 
of opinion that such a law ought to be enforced, not in the 
markets, but on the coasts. Inspectors, in their judgment, ought to 
be appointed by the Government, who would receive information 
that undersized fish were being sent from some particular fishing 
station, who could then go down and inspect the fishermen's 
barrels, and prosecute the fishermen in whose barrels any illegal 
fish were found. But the conclusive answer to this recommenda- 
tion appears to be, that, if Inspectors were stationed round the 
coast, their cost would be great. The game, in short, would not 
be worth the candle. If, on the other hand, one or two Inspec- 
tors were appointed to supervise the whole country, they would 
be powerless. The law might possibly be enforced on the spot 
where they happened to be ; it would be openly disregarded in 
all other places. 

We think, therefore, that, if the law which we have recom- 
mended is to be enforced at all, it must be enforced in the mar- 
kets ; and we do not think that the evidence of the Birmingham 
salesmen ought to affect the conclusion. The Birmingham sales- 
men assert that they receive a barrel of crabs to sell on commis- 
sion from some part of the coast; that they sell it without 
opening it or " breaking bulk ;" that the retail dealer buys it 
without examining it ; that neither the salesman nor the retail 
dealer can possibly tell whether any undersized crabs or lobsters 
are in it or not ; and that it would be impracticable for either the 
salesmen or fishmongers to examine the contents of each barrel 
which they sell or buy. But we do not think that much difficulty 
would arise from the circumstance. We asked a retail fishmonger, 
in Birmingham, what he would do if, on buying such a barrel of 
crabs, he found certain undersized crabs or lobsters among them, 
and his reply seems to us to settle the question. He told us 
that he would then return the fish to the salesman. In exactly 
the same way the salesman would return the fish to the fisher- 
man ; and the fishermen, therefore, would find that they received 
no money for the fish which they thus illegally consigned, and 
consequently would cease to consign them. 

We are, however, far from saying that the law should in no 
case be enforced against the fishermen on the coasts ; on the 
contrary, every fisherman who transmits undersized fish to a 
salesman offers them for sale, and ought to be liable to prosecu- 
tion for his offence. We have no doubt that, in many cases, it 
will be possible to prosecute him. But we mainly rely, for carry- 
ing out the law, on the prohibition of the sale ; and we believe 
that no other means can be suggested for enforcing it so efficiently 
and economically. 

The only exception to this rule should be in those cases where 
the Secretary of State may be advised, after an inquiry, to insti- 
tute a local close season. A local law, so instituted, must neces- 



XX 



Dogs at Hall 
Sands. 



Trawling. 



The Norfolk 
Act of 1876. 



sarily be carried out locally. But, though it may be difficult to en- 
force on the coast a law of gauge, there is no difficulty in enforcing 
on the coast a law of close season. It would require an officer 
in every boat to see that no crab under a certain size was taken ; 
but it would not require an officer in every village to see that 
no creels were being used. The coastguard could easily enforce 
a local close season ; and, should local close seasons be in any case 
hereafter instituted, the coastguard might be instructed to 
enforce them. 

There are two other matters to which we'must shortly refer": — 

1st. The fishermen at Hall Sands keep four or five Newfoundland 
dogs for the purpose of carrying lines from the shore to the boats 
in rough weather. The surf is so heavy in certain winds, that 
the only possible way of landing is for the boat to be drawn 
through the surf by the friends of the fishermen on shore, by means 
of the lines which the dogs take out to them. The fishermen 
think it a very great hardship that these dogs should be taxed. 
We promised to draw the attention of Her Majesty's Government 
to this matter, and we have accordingly noticed it here. 

2nd. On almost every part of the coast we heard complaints 
from crab fishermen against the trawlers. The crabbers assert that 
the trawlers injure them in two v/ays : 1st, by destroying a 
great many berried crabs and soft crabs ; 2nd, by sweeping 
away their tackle. The first complaint we hope we have suffi- 
ciently met by our previous recommendations that no berried 
crabs and no soft crabs should be sold. The second we do not feel 
ourselves authorised to enter into in any detail. We think it, 
however, our duty to say that the complaints against the inshore 
trawlers, for injuring both the crab and lobster and other 
fisheries, are so loud and so universal that, in our judgment, 
it is most desirable that they should be investigated. If they are 
just, they ought to be redressed ; if they are unjust, the trawlers 
ought to have the opportunity of explaining their injustice. 

The recommendations which we have made in the preceding 
pages in many cases supplement the law which was passed for the 
control of the Norfolk crab and lobster fisheries in the Session of 
1876.* In other respects they are inconsistent with that law. 
The Norfolk Act instituted a 7-inch gauge for lobsters. We have 
recommended an 8-inch gauge. We thought it our duty, there- 
fore, to go down to Norfolk and confer with the fishermen on the 
subject. We held a meeting, for the purpose, at Cromer, which 



* The following is a short analysis of the Norfolk Crab and Lobster Fisheries 
Act : — 

I, It is illegal to take or have in possession or offer for sale, under a penalty of 5s. 
for each offence, — 

1. Lobsters from 25th June to 25th July inclusive. 

2. Lobsters under 7 inches in length, excluding the horns. 

3. Lobsters carrying spawn or ova at any time. 
4 .Crabs under A\ inches across the back. 

5. Crabs carrying spawn or ova at any time. 

II. The Act applies only to the sea coast of Norfolk, from Salthouse toMundesley 
and for a distance of 3 miles from the shore. 



xxij 

was largely and influentially attended, and at which it was 
unanimously resolved to substitute the 8-inch for the 7-inch gauge 
for lobsters. The Norfolk Act must, therefore, under any cir- 
cumstances, be amended in this respect. It is, however, evidently 
desirable that the whole country should be placed under one law; 
and we therefore recommend that the Norfolk Act should be 
repealed, and that any of its provisions (such as the institution 
of a local close season for lobsters) which it may be desirable to 
retain, should be re-enacted in the new Act. 

It is satisfactory to us to be able to state that the local Norfolk 
Act of last Session has given considerable satisfaction both to the 
fishermen and generally in the neighbourhood. The gauge of 
4 J inches for crabs appears to be well adapted to the coast of 
Norfolk, and the fishermen wish no alteration to be made in it. 

The purport of the whole is as follows : — Recapitulation. 

I. It should be illegal to buy, sell, or offer or expose for sale, 
or have in possession for sale — 

1. Lobsters under, either, 8 inches in length or under 4 inches 

in the barrel, except in the county of Sussex. 

2. Lobsters under 7 inches in length, in the county of Sussex. 

3. Crabs under 5 inches across the back, except in the 

counties of Northumberland, Durham, York, Lincoln, 
Norfolk, and Suffolk. 

4. Crabs under 4J inches across the back in those six 

counties. 

5. Crabs with berries under the apron. 

6. Soft crabs. 

II. The officers of the Fishmongers' Company should be ex- 
pressly empowered to carry out the legislation in Billingsgate. 

III. The Secretary of State should have power to institute, after 
inquiry, local close seasons for crabs and lobsters in any counties 
or parts of counties. 

All of which we submit for the consideration and approval of 
the Secretary of State. 

We have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your obedient servants, 

Fkank Buckland. 
S. Walpole. 
The Right Hon. the Secretary of State, 
Home Office. 



REPORT 



ON THE 



CRIB AID LOBSTER FISHERIES 



OF 



SCOTLAND. 



BY 



FRANK BUCKLAND and SPENCER WALPOLE, Esqrs., 

INSPECTORS OF SALMON FISHERIES FOR ENGLAND AND WALES; 
AND 

ARCHIBALD YOUNG, Esq., 

ADVOCATE, 

COMMISSIONER OP SCOTCH SALMON FISHERIES. 



CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES. 



REPORT 



ON THE 



CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 



OF 



SCOTLAND. 



Sir, 1st March, 1877. 

In obedience to your instructions of the 13th September Extent of 
1876, desiring us to hold an inquiry into the state of the crab inquiry. 
and lobster fisheries of Scotland, we have the honour to inform 
you that we visited the following places during the months of 
October aud November last, and examined upwards of 150 wit- 
nesses, consisting principally of fish salesmen and practical fisher- 
men, with the view of ascertaining the condition and requirements 
of the said fisheries : — On the east coast, Edinburgh, Newhaven, 
North Berwick, Dunbar, Cockburnspath, Coldingham Shore, 
Montrose, Stonehaven, Muchalls, Cove, Aberdeen, Peterhead, St. 
Combs, Inverallochy, Fraserburgh, Banff, Burghead, Inverness, 
"Wick, Ackergill, and Thrumster ; on the north coast and in the 
Orkney islands, Huna, Thurso, Kirkwall, and Stromness ; and 
on the west coast and in the Hebrides, Stornoway, Tarbert in 
Harris, Portree, Tobermory, Salen, Oban, and Glasgow. 

The crab fisheries of Scotland are almost entirely confined to Position of [the 
the east coast, and to the north coast from Duncansby Head to Scotch crab 
Loch Erribol. The most productive lobster fisheries are to be fisheries 3 ** 
found in the Orkney Islands, in the inner and outer Hebrides, 
and in the sea lochs of the western coast.* A good many 
crabs, indeed, are caught in the lobster creels on the west coast ; 
but they are not appreciated and scarcely used for local con- 
sumption, while they are so far from a market where they would 
meet with a ready sale that they do not stand the journey, 
and it does not therefore pay to send them.f On the east coast, 



* The Scotch lobster fisheries produce altogether about 300,000 lobsters annually 
most of which are forwarded to the English markets. 

•f It is possible that increased facilities of transit may yet develop the crab fisheries 
of the west coast and islands of Scotland. 



II 



Evidence of 
decrease — 



1. In crabs. 



2. In lobsters. 



on the other hand, crabs are a favourite article of food among all 
classes, and are largely exported to London and other markets to 
which there is ready and rapid access. 

There was a general agreement among the witnesses examined 
that both the crab and lobster fisheries have considerably fallen 
off, and that neither in numbers nor in size are the fish equal to 
what they were 40, 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. 

First, as to the crab fisheries : — Mr. John Anderson, one of the 
principal fishmongers in Edinburgh, who has been 44 years in 
business, says : — " Crabs have decreased very much. The decrease 
" began fully 10 years ago, and is both in size and numbers. 
" They have decreased more than half." Mr. Joseph Johnson, of 
Montrose, the head of the greatest firm of fish merchants in 
Scotland, who has been acquainted with the crab and lobster 
fisheries from Cape Wrath to Montrose for more than 50 years, 
considers that " the crabs have diminished 50 per cent, in number." 
James Walker, fisherman, Gourdon: — "The crabs are getting 
" very scarce. They are less than one half of what they were 
"36 years ago. During the last 20 years they have been falling off 
" gradually." George Buchan, fisherman, Buchanhaven, " thinks 
" they " (the crabs) " are falling off. . . . They have diminished 
" about one half." Mr. Stevens, fish curer, Bodham, li used to 
" go about as a boy with his father 25 years ago. Caught many 
" crabs then. Caught 72 crabs, full-grown, in one creel. There 
u were plenty of crabs at that time. They are much scarcer 
a now. Nobody at Bodham now fishes for crabs ; it does not 
" pay." James Brodie, of Cratown, " has been fishing for crabs for 
" 30 years. There were 9 boats at Cratown 30 years ago ; there 
" are 8 now. Thirty years ago boats used to carry 5 to 10 creels 
" for each man ; now they have 40 to 50 betwixt two men. 
" They caught a good deal more with 10 to 12 creels than they 
" do now with more than double that number." William 
Ritchie, fisherman, Whitehills, thinks " there are fewer crabs than 
" when he began fishing." Mr. Adam Macdonald, Inverness, 
" used to deal largely in crabs. Since 1842 he has been pur- 
" chasing them for the purpose of sale. They are not nearly so 
<e plentiful now as they were in 1842." William Thomson, 
Thurso, ci has been a crab and lobster fisherman for about 35 years. 
" There are^a good many crabs all about the coast, from Loch 
" Erribol to Duncansby Head ; but not a fourth of the number 
" are now taken that were got 35 years ago. There has been 
" a decrease also in size." Robert Miller, fisherman, North 
Berwick, " has fished for 20 years. . . When he first began 
" he used to get a creel full of crabs ; now he only gets 9 
" to 12 crabs in a creel. Has seen as many as 35 crabs in a 
" creel." Alexander Combie, Dunbar, " has fished for crabs for 
" the last 50 years. When he was a boy there were three for 
" every one now, and they were also larger. They have gradu- 
" ally degenerated." 

Next, as to the lobster fisheries : — Mr. Anderson, Edinburgh, 
: — " They " (the lobsters) " have diminished both in size 



Ill 

H and number. The decrease began 20 to 25 years ago. They 
* have decreased one half in the last 20 years." Mr. James 
Muirhead, Edinburgh : — " Lobsters have decreased a great deal 
" in size, not so much in numbers." Mr. John Jamieson, Edin- 
burgh : — u The lobsters have diminished both in size and quan- 
" tity." Mr. Joseph Johnson, fish merchant, Montrose, also speaks 
to a falling off in lobsters. Walter Noble, fisherman, Fraser- 
burgh : — " Lobsters have fallen off very much. . . Twenty to 
" thirty years ago they used to catch 100, 70, or 80 in the 
" 24 hours. They now get a dozen to half a score in the 24 
" hours." William Dunbar, Brawl Castle, Thurso : — " Lochs 
" Laxford and Erribol and the Kyles of Tongue are almost fished 
" out. They would not now yield anything like half of what 
" they used to yield." William Thomson, fisherman, Thurso : — 
" Lobsters are getting scarce. Four times as many were taken 
"35 years ago as are taken now, yet there are now four times 
" as many boats fishing. Thirty-five years ago 2\d. and 3d. 
" was the price of a marketable lobster ; now Is. 6d. is 
" paid." David Gunn, fish merchant, Wick : — " From about 
" 1860 there has been a decrease in the supply" of lobsters. 
Alexander Mitchell, chief constable, Caithness-shire : — " There 
" is no doubt that the supply of lobsters has been falling off." 
Robert Brough, fish merchant, Kirkwall, " thinks that lobsters are 
" scarcer. . . . Two men 20 or 30 years ago would take 1,200 to 
" 1,400 lobsters in a fishing season. Now they would not get 
" above 200 lobsters." Donald Macdonald, steamboat agent, 
Portree, 1 2 years supercargo in the steamer " Clydesdale " : — " The 
" lobsters now have fallen off so much in size that twice the 
" number are put in a box that there used to be."" John Robertson, 
fish merchant, Portree: — "The lobsters are not so plentiful as 
" they were in 1862, but there is more difference in the size than 
" in the number. The lobsters are measured by the barrel gauge, 
" and lobsters below 4J inches, or wanting a claw, count two 
" for one. There are a larger proportion of lobsters under gauge 
" than there used to be. About 20 per cent, of the lobsters 
" were under gauge in 1862, and about 50 per cent, are so now." 
Kenneth Smith, fish merchant, Stornoway ; — " There are more 
" boats fishing than there were, and each boat has more creels. 
" The boats ought therefore to get more than they used to do ; 
" and as they do not, lobsters cannot be so plentiful as they were." 
Norman McLeod, junior, general dealer and fisherman, Tarbert, 
Harris: — " Mr. Maclachlan, of Glasgow, was the first man who 
<! started the fishing for lobsters in East Loch Tarbert. He sent a 
" smack down about 22 years ago. The men fished for him in the 
" winter season and spring. The fishery was very successful. 
" There were not so many boats — not a fourth part so many — as 
" there are now. They fished with creels. The few boats started 
" at that time caught as many lobsters as the 44 boats catch now. 
" Thinks, therefore, indeed is sure, that the lobsters are falling off 
" in numbers in East Loch Tarbert. The lobsters are also falling 



IV 

c< off in size. They have not time to come to maturity. Thinks 
" the fishing gets worse every year. The proof of this is that 
<( the fishermen have to leave the Harris coast for the Lews, 
u Skye, and North and South Uist." William Macqueed, agent 
at Tarbert for Mr. Maclachlan : — " One dozen lobsters 20 years 
" ago would weigh as heavy as two or three dozen now." Eoderick 
McKay, a lobster fisherman of Tarbert of 40 years' experience : 
— " There are not so many lobsters in any place as there were 
" 40 years ago. . . . The lobsters are also smaller." Mr. 
Maclean, general merchant, Tobermory : — " The lobsters have de- 
" creased in average size. The two-for-one lobsters form nearly 
" half the whole take now." David Campbell, fish merchant, 
Salen, " has been acquainted with the lobster fisheries of Mull 
u and the immediately adjacent lochs and islands for more than 
" 30 years, since 1844. Lobsters have diminished both in number 
" and size since he began business." William Sproat, Procurator 
u Fiscal, Tobermory, " has been 30 years resident in Tobermory, 
" during which time he has paid considerable attention to the 
" lobster fisheries around Mull and the neighbouring islands. 
(i Lobsters are not nearly as plentiful as formerly, and on an 
" average not above half the size. Places that were productive 
fishing grounds when he first came to Mull are now almost 
exhausted." Captain Swinburne, R.N., ' f is proprietor of 
Eilean Shona and of the island of Muck, in the county of 
" Inverness. Has paid much attention to the subject of the 
" lobster fisheries and prosecuted them for three years (from 
" 1856 to 1859) in the neighbourhood of Eilean Shona. and 
" Ardnamurchan. Thinks that lobsters have fallen off both 
" in number and size." Mr. Hugh Maclachlan, fish merchant, 
Glasgow, one of the chief fish salesmen in Scotland, who has 
been 30 years engaged in the lobster trade, says : — " Lobsters 
" have decreased greatly in size as well as in number. If there 
" were as many lobsters in the sea as there used to be, the 
(i increased number of boats and creels should catch four times 
" as many as they do." 
Contrary It is then clear that a very large majority of the witnesses, 

evidence. with special means of arriving at a just conclusion on the 

subject, are satisfied that the crab and lobster fisheries of 
Scotland are in a state of gradual decay. In a few cases, 
indeed, we have heard a different story. At Muchalls, for 
instance, a fishing village on the coast of Aberdeenshire, the 
fishermen considered that crabs were not scarce. We were told 
by Donald Mowat, a fisherman with 35 years' experience, that 
" There are plenty of crabs in the neighbourhood " of Duncansby 
Head, in the extreme north of Scotland. " There is no differ- 
" ence in their size or number as compared with former years." 
Alexander Greg, manager at Arbroath for Joseph Johnson and 
Sons, thought that "crabs and lobsters are just as plentiful 
" as they were seven years ago ; lobsters, if anything, more 
" plentiful." George Wood, a fisherman of Johns Haven assured 



"us that "there has been no falling off" since 1827. George 
Bruce, a fisherman at Peterhead, thought that " crabs have not 
" diminished either in size or number." Peter Sinclair, a fisher- 
man of Stromness, believes that the ground on which he fishes 
produces as many lobsters as it did 30 years ago. Murdo 
Morrison, of Bernera, similarly " believes that there are as many 
" lobsters caught now " on the Atlantic coast of the Hebrides 
" as there were 30 years ago." Kenneth Smith, a fish merchant 
in Stornoway, " obtains as many lobsters as formerly." James 
McSween, a fisherman of Stornoway, "has fished for lobsters for 
"15 years ; gets as many now as he got 15 years ago." There 
is, therefore, a minority among the witnesses who disbelieve 
in the alleged decay of the fisheries. We are ourselves of 
opinion that the crab fisheries on the east coast of Scotland 
are almost universally deteriorating. We are also of opinion 
that the lobster fisheries, as a whole, are falling off both in 
the size and number of fish caught. But a distinction must 
be drawn between the lobster fisheries in sheltered places and 
the lobster fisheries farther from the shore or exposed to the 
Atlantic. We have no doubt whatever that the patches of 
lobster ground, which are sheltered or partly sheltered by the 
adjacent coast, and where almost continuous fishing is pos- 
sible, are being rapidly fished out ; bnt there are large tracts 
of almost illimitable extent on the Atlantic shores of the Orkneys 
and the Hebrides where the evidence of deterioration is much 
less distinct. The fishermen in these places, prevented by storms 
from continuous fishing, are compelled to observe a storm-imposed 
close season. Nature, in fact, makes a close time of her own.* 

In those places where it was acknowledged that the fishery Decrease due 
was falling off the decline was almost unanimously attributed t0 over-fishing, 
to one of the three following causes, viz., over fishing, catching 
immature fish, and fishing at inappropriate periods of the year. 
For instance, Mr. Joseph Johnson, of Montrose, attributes the 
falling off to over fishing and the want of a close season. Mr. 
William Ritchie, of Whitehills, compares catching crabs in June, 
July, and August to cutting green corn. William Thomson, of 
Thurso, states that lobsters are fished all the year round, and 
thinks that over- fishing is the cause of the diminution. Mr. 
John Jamieson, of Edinburgh, attributes the decrease in lobsters 
to over -fishing and fishing all the year round. Walter Noble, 
fisherman, Fraserburgh, thinks that lobsters are too much fished 
in summer and winter. David Gunn, fishmerchant. Wick, attri- 
butes the decrease to over-fishing. Alexander Mitchell, chief 
constable of Caithness, Robert Brough, fish merchant, Kirkwall, 
John Robertson, fish merchant, Portree, and Mr. Maclachlan, of 
Glasgow, are all of the same opinion. 



* It is, perhaps, worth observing that, when the herring season commences, the 
more active men leave the crabs and lobsters, and go to the herring fishing. 
40353. G 



VI 

Effect of creels. Over -fishing has, indeed, been stimulated during the last few 
years by the invention of a much more efficacious mode of 
catching crabs and lobsters. 30 years ago, the fishermen in many 
places were accustomed to fish with " rings " alone. They now 
almost universally use " creels." The ring was an iron ring with 
a small net attached to it in the shape of a purse. The ring 
was baited and let down to the bottom of the sea. The fisherman 
constantly examined the ring to see if there were any fish on 
it 3 and the pressure of the water on the ring, while it was being 
drawn up for examination, prevented any lobsters or crabs which 
happened to have been attracted by the bait, from escaping. 
The ring, therefore, required the constant attention of the fisher- 
men, and a boat could not use more rings than the fishermen 
connected with it could constantly examine. A creel, on the 
contrary, is a pot made of wickerwork or of a wicker frame 
covered with netting. The crabs and lobsters enter it through 
a hole or pipe 4 J to 5 inches in diameter and are found in 
it when the pots are examined. The creel, therefore, is a fixed 
engine, unattended by the fishermen and only periodically 
examined, usually towards dawn, by its owner. The substitu- 
tion, therefore, of creels for rings enabled each fisherman to work 
more traps than he could before, with very much less labour 
to himself, and also to work them in much deeper water. 
It replaced a comparatively inefficient engine with a much more 
efficient one. 

The increase of fishing, which we have thus noticed, and 
which has led to the introduction of more efficient means of 
capture, has been of course stimulated by the increased facilities 
of transit, which railways and steamboats have of late years 
afforded. 

We have thus summarised the evidence which we have re- 
ceived relative to the increase or decrease of the crab and 
lobster fisheries of Scotland ; and we have stated the causes to 
which the witnesses were agreed in attributing the decrease. 
The remedies which they suggested were the institution of a 
close season and the fixing of a gauge. 
Close season I n the case °f cr &bs, nearly 30 witnesses advocate the combina- 

and gauge. tion of a close season and a gauge, whilst only seven are opposed 
to a close time, and only four to a gauge. 45 witnesses are in 
favour of the union of a close time and gauge for lobsters, and 
only five object to a close time.* 

A close time alone would prevent the capture of the fish when 
they are out of condition, but it would do nothing to prevent the 

* The reason that so many more witnesses are found supporting the combination of 
a close time and a gauge in the case of lobsters than in the case of crabs is, that, all 
around the coasts and among the islands, evidence was given about lobsters, whereas 
the lobster fishermen in the western islands only take crabs by accident ; there is 
no market for them and scarcely any local consumption, except at Oban during the 
tourist season ; so that many of these witnesses declined to give evidence respecting 
the crab fisheries because they had no special interest in or knowledge of them. 



Vll 

taking of too small crabs and lobsters during the fishing season. 
A gauge alone would put a stop to the taking of immature and 
undersized fish, but it would be no test of the condition of the 
fish caught. 

But when we consult the evidence with the view 'of ascertaining 
over what period of the year the close time shall extend, and what 
shall be the size of the gauge, we find a great diversity of 
opinion. Taking crabs in the first place, we find nine different 
gauges suggested, varying from 6 to 3 inches measured across 
the longer diameter of the shell,* while no fewer than 27 different 
periods of close time are proposed. The most popular gauge is the 
5 -inch which has 20 supporters ; and next to it are the 4^-inch 
which has 10, and the 5 J-inch which has five. The close time during 
June, July, and August has eight advocates ; that during Novem- 
ber, December, and January, has five ; and that from 1st August to 
1st April has four. At least as great a diversity of opinion exists 
as to the most appropriate close time, and the most suitable 
gauge, for lobsters. But with respect to the gauge, there are two 
sizes which have far more supporters than any of the others — 
in the first place, the 8-inch gauge, which has 30 supporters, 
and in the second place the 9-inch gauge, which has 25. As 
many as 23 different periods of close time for lobsters were 
brought under our notice in the course of our inquiry, some wit- 
nesses suggesting only one month, while others wished the period 
prolonged to seven months. But among all the different periods 
suggested, one had decidedly a strong majority of witnesses in 
its favour — the period, namely, from 1st June to 1st September, 
which had 12 supporters; whilst the next most popular period, 
from 1st May to 1st September, had only six. It will be ob- 
served, that both these periods of close time include the summer 
months and the first month of autumn. But some witnesses 
objected to both these periods on the ground that the fishing 
in the stormy seas around the Orkney Islands, and in the still 
more valuable and as yet imperfectly developed lobster fisheries 
on the Atlantic shores of the Lews, Harris, and the long 
stretch of islands extending from the Sound of Harris to Barra 
Head, can only be successfully prosecuted in the summer months, 
and that, if these months were closed the fisheries would be prac- 
tically stopped altogether. It is, perhaps, a sufficient answer to 
this objection that an overwhelming majority of the witnesses 
who speak of the lobster fisheries in these stormy seas are in 
favour of a close time during the summer months. For example, 
five out of the seven witnesses examined at Wick, who gave 
evidence with regard to the lobster fisheries about the exposed 
coast near Wick, and in the rapid and tempestuous Pentland 
Firth, supported such a close time. Donald Thomson, a fisherman 
of 35 years' experience of the fisheries between the Ord of Caithness 
and Cape Wrath, is in favour of a close time from 15th June to 

* The gauges suggested are as follows: — 6-ins., S^-ins., 5-ins., 4f-ins., 4^ ins., 4^-ins., 
4-ins., 3|-ins., and 3ins. 

c 2 



Vlll 



1st March ; John Bain, another fisherman, supports a close season 
from 15th June to 31st January ; Finlay McLean, a third fisher- 
man of 40 years' experience on both sides of the Moray Firth, 
and at the Land's End, proposes to close June, July, August, and 
September ; David Gunn, fish merchant, Wick, would shut June, 
July, and August ; and John Mackie, editor of the " Northern 
Ensign," is in favour of the same close time as Donald Thomson, 
— from 1 5th June to 1st March. 

We found a similar preponderance of evidence in favour of a 
close time during the summer and autumn months at Kirk- 
wall and Stromness, the chief towns of the Orkney Isles. At 
Kirkwall, five witnesses were examined, four of whom support 
a summer and autumn close time, and the fifth advocates 
a close time, without saying what it should be. Robert 
Brough, fish merchant, Kirkwall, would close July, August, 
September, and October; Donald Neil, fisherman, Kirkwall, 
" thinks the close season should commence on 1st July, and 
" should last two or three months" ; Joseph Murrell, fish- 
curer and fish salesman, Stromness, would have the close season 
commence on 16th July and close on 1st December; Robert 
Hercus, fisherman, Kirkwall, "thinks July, August, September, 
" and October, would be a sufficient close season " ; and John 
Hercus would have the close season " commence in July, and end 
" in October." At Stromness, Samuel Flett, fisherman, is in 
favour of a close time from 1st August to 1st January ; and 
Peter Sinclair and William Stanger, both fishermen, and the 
only other witnesses examined, would have a close season during 
June, July, August, and September. 

Even in Stornoway, the capital of the Lews, the largest and 
most populous of the Hebrides, whose western coasts are exposed 
to the full fury of the Atlantic gales, the great majority of the 
witnesses are of the same opinion. Murdo Morrison, Island of 
Bernera, " is in favour of a close season in June and July." 
George Macaulay, Island of Bernera, says : " The fishing season 
" now commences on the 1st August, and ends in the following 
" June. The lobsters are not fished in June and July, because the 
ie men cannot get enough for them to make it worth their while, 
" and the buyers won't buy because the lobsters won't stand the 
te carriage. . . . Never fishes in June or July now. These months 
" are practically a close season. The coast is very stormy, and 
" the fishermen would be stopped eight to nine days a month 
" throughout the year/' Kenneth Smith, fish merchant, Storno- 
way, il is in favour of a close season in May, June, July, and 
" August." Archibald Munro, manager at Stornoway for Mr. Mac- 
lachlan, of Glasgow, " is in favour of a close time for lobsters. It 
" should commence on 1st May and terminate on 30th September." 
John McSween, fisherman, Stornoway, u would have a close season 
" commencing 1st May and ending 30th September." John Mac- 
donald, fisherman, Stornoway, " is in favour of a close season, com- 
" mencing 1st April and ending 30th September," and so is Angus 



IX 

Macleod, another Stornoway fisherman, Then, at Tarbert, in the 
island of Harris, we find the Scarpa fishermen voluntarily insti- 
tuting and observing a close time from May to December with 
the best effects ; and if we look at the evidence given at Tarbert, 
we find that it corroborates that previously cited in favour of the 
propriety of closing the summer and part of the autumn months. 
Norman Macleod, jun., general dealer and fisherman, Tarbert, " is 
" in favour of a six months' close season. Would commence fish* 
a ing at the end of November and end at the beginning of May." 
William McQueed, for 25 years buyer for Mr. Maclachlan, of 
Glasgow, " is in favour of a close season in May, June, July, 
" and August/' Robert McKay, fisherman and fish salesman, 
Tarbert : " There are only a few fishermen fishing lobsters in 
" the summer time. Sends lobsters away himself in summer 
11 time. Sends them to London and Manchester. Many die ; 
" sometimes they all die. This is a great waste, and ought to be 
'-' stopped. Would like to see it stopped. ... Is in favour of a 
" close season, commencing on the 12th May, and would resume 
" fishing on the 1st September/' David Macdonald, fisherman : 
— " The Scarpa men begin fishing in November and stop at the 
" beginning of May. . . . The Scarpa men are all against fishing 
" in summer and harvest time, and he agrees with them/' Malcolm 
Kare, fisherman, West Loch Tarbert : — " There were 30 times 
t( more lobsters when he began fishing 46 years ago than there 
" were when he left off 12 years ago. Attributes decrease 
c: to summer fishing." Ewen Macdonald and Donald Munro, 
fishermen, Tarbert, are both " in favour of a close season, coni- 
" mencing 1st May and ending 31st October." 

Coming now to Mull, a very important member of the 
Hebridean group of islands, from which at least 40,000 lobsters 
are annually exported, we find additional evidence in favour of 
a close time for lobsters, including the summer months. Duncan 
Campbell, fish merchant, Salen, Mull, says : — " The close time 
" should be from 1st June to 1st September." Archibald 
Maclean, general merchant, Tobermory, " is in favour of a close 
" time for lobsters from May to September, inclusive." David 
Campbell, fish merchant, Salen, " would restrict the close time to 
" July and August." David Sproat, Procurator Fiscal, Tober- 
mory : — " The close time should be that of the old Act of 
" George IT., from 1st June to 1st September. Neil Macquarrie, 
fish merchant, Tobermory: — " If there is to be a close time 
" would restrict it to the months of J uly and August." Lastly, 
Mr. Hugh Maclachlan, fish merchant, Glasgow, who has probably 
had the longest experience in the lobster trade of any man in 
Scotland, " Would have the fishing season to extend from 
" 1st October to 1st May, and would have the rest of the year 
" close time. . . . Is of opinion that the close time suggested would 
•' not interfere with the productiveness of the fishings on the 
" west coast of the Long Island, and of the other Outer Hebrides, 
" because the lobsters caught in these places during the warm 



" months won't carry to market, the localities are so remote. 
" They won't keep. There is a great loss, even in the case of 
" the lobsters caught on the Atlantic seaboard of these islands 
" during the latter half of May, in their transit to the English 
(i markets/' 
Close time It is worth observing that the three months of June, July, 

under Act of an( j August, which the majority of witnesses thus indicate as 
the best close time for both crabs and lobsters, are precisely the 
months which the Act 9 Geo. II. c. 33. sec. 4, enacts as the close 
time for lobsters. 

But there seems to be a general impression that the statutory 
close time for Scotch lobsters provided by the 4th section of this 
Act, though never expressly repealed, has fallen into desuetude 
and is no longer binding owing to the long period of contrary 
usage. It may be worth while examining whether this is really 
the case or no. The greater portion of this Act was expressly 
repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act, 1 867, but the 4th 
section was not repealed. 

This section, which applies to Scotland alone, is interesting as 
showing that the habits and natural history of the lobster had 
been carefully considered by the promoters of the Act : — " And 
" whereas the destroying the fry or spawn of any fish is highly 
a prejudicial, especially such fish as do not wander, but keep 
" about the coasts ; and whereas the principal time for the 
" spawning of lobsters is from the beginning of June to the 1st 
" of September, in which three months the lobsters crawl close 
<l to the shore to leave their spawn in the chinks of the rocks, 
" and as much under the influence of the sun as possible : Be it 
" therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that from and 
" after the 1st day of June 1736, no fisherman, or other person 
" or persons whatever, shall, with trunks, hoop nets, or any 
" other way, take, kill, or destroy any lobsters on the sea coast of 
' ; that part of Great Britain called Scotland, from the 1st day 
" of June to the 1st day of September yearly, under the penalty 
" of 51. sterling for each offence, to be recovered by any person 
" who shall inform and sue for the same upon a summary com- 
" plaint before any two or more of his Majesty's justices of the 
" peace of the shire on the coast where any such offence shall 
" happen to be committed." 

According to the law of Scotland, a Scots Act, that is an Act 
passed by the Parliament of Scotland previously to the Union 
of England and Scotland, may cease to be binding by a long course 
of contrary usage. No statute, however, can be abrogated by 
mere non-usage or neglect of its provisions for any length of time. 
There must be distinct and positive contrary usage. But the 
statute in question is in no respects a Scots Act. It was passed 
nearly 30 years after the Union, and only one of its sections 
applies to Scotland exclusively. It seems doubtful, therefore, 
whether it can be held to have fallen into desuetude. Neither 
Mr. Stewart nor Mr. Paterson gives the least hint that it has done 



XI 



so. The former, in his treatise on the Law of Scotland, relating 
to Rights of Fishing, says (pp. 70,71), "The Act 9 Geo. II. 
" c. 33. sec. 4, imposes a close time for lobster fishing from 1st June 
" to 1st September. An infringement of the regulation subjects 
" the offender to a penalty not exceeding 51. for each offence ;" 
and Mr. Paterson, in his " Fishery Laws of the United King- 
dom/' says in a note (p. 167), " There seems to be a close season 
" for lobsters from 1st June to 1st September, 9 Geo. II. 
" c. 33. sec. 4." 

.But even assuming that the statutory close time applicable to 
Scotch lobsters might be abrogated by a long course of contrary 
usage, there is scarcely adequate proof in the evidence laid 
before us that there has been a sufficient course of such contrary 
usage. It is true that the great majority of witnesses examined 
had never observed, had never even heard of, the statute; and 
the contrary usage of fishing all the year round, instead of observ- 
ing the close time seemed almost universal. But, on the other 
hand, there was clear evidence of the Act having been observed 
and enforced. Joseph Johnson, fish-merchant, Montrose, " recol- 
" lects 30 } r ears ago that the Act 9 Geo. II. c. 33. sec. 4, providing 
■" a close season, was strictly enforced. Has heard men say it 
*' was close season and you could get no lobsters." John Robert- 
son, fish-merchant, Portree, "is aware of 9 Geo. II. c. 33. sec. 4, 
"" instituting a close season for lobsters. Most of the fishermen 
" are aware of it. It was once enforced or threatened to be 
" enforced in the Lews." Captain Swinburne, of Eilean Shona, 
states that " while engaged in lobster fishing, he himself always 
** observed the close time . . . provided by the Act." There is, 
therefore, evidence that within the memory of living men the Act 
has been observed and enforced ; and in the face of this, it can 
scarcely be maintained -that there has been sufficient contrary 
usage to abrogate it. 

But, if it is doubtful whether the Act belongs to the class of 
Acts which may be abrogated by a long course of contrary usage, 
and if, even assuming it to belong to that class, there is good 
evidence that there has not been a sufficient course of such con- 
trary usage, it naturally follows that, before our recommendation 
of a gauge alone for lobsters could be given effect to, with a power 
to the Secretary of State to institute, after inquiry, local close 
seasons, it would be expedient to repeal section 4 of 9 Geo. II., 
c. 33. ; as otherwise persons might possibly, for the sake of 
recovering the penalty, turn informers against those fishing during 
the close time prescribed in the Act, especially after attention 
has been prominently directed to it during the course of the 
present inquiry. 

The evidence, then, which we had the advantage of receiving General results 
in Scotland, pointed decisively, 1st, to the fixing of a gauge of evidence, 
both for crabs and lobsters ; and, 2nd, to the institution of a close 
season for lobsters, embracing the summer months. It pointed 
also, though less distinctly, to the institution of some ck-se 



Xll 

Machinery for season for crabs. But the witnesses were much less unanimous 
enforcing the ag ^ the best and most effectual means of enforcing the legislation, 
which they were agreed in recommending. Some witnesses sug- 
gested that the close time and gauge might be enforced by the 
officers of the White Herring Fishery Board, or the officers of 
the Coast Guard or Customs, and a few advocated the appointment 
of special fishery officers for the purpose. The officers of the 
White Herring Fishery Board, of the Coast Guard, and of the 
Customs have, however, other duties to perform ; and besides, at 
some of the most important fishing stations, none of them are to 
be found. In the 56 islands, for example, constituting the 
Orkney group, there are three policemen and one fishery officer ; 
yet the annual export of lobsters from Orkney is not much under 
80,000. The same remark would apply to the island of Lews 
and Harris, which annually sends away a similar number of 
lobsters, and to Benbecula, North Uist, and Barra, which are 
likewise most productive lobster grounds. 

Nor is the suggestion that special fishery officers should be ap- 
pointed for the purpose of enforcing the close time and gauge more 
practicable. The question at once arises, Who is to pay them ? 
There is no right of private property in crabs and lobsters as in 
salmon fisheries, and, therefore, there is no owner whose interest 
it is to watch them and pay for their protection. It is certain 
also that the fish merchants and fishermen would object to pay 
for what some of them might consider an undue interference with 
their rights, and it would be inexpedient to charge the public 
revenue with the cost of protecting fisheries which contribute 
nothing to its support. It is very difficult therefore, to devise 
effectual machinery for enforcing locally any regulations which 
may be made. It would not indeed be very difficult to enforce a 
close season on the coasts. A fisherman cannot go out fishing for 
crabs and lobsters without attracting the attention of his neigh- 
bours. The machinery which he uses is cumbrous. He sets his 
creels in places where any fisherman can see the corks or bladders, 
and he therefore subjects himself to a prosecution by any one who 
may be anxious to enforce the law. But it would be almost impos- 
sible to enforce a gauge locally. The fisherman who took any 
under-sized crabs or lobsters would naturally place them in the 
bottom of bis basket, and as it would be the duty of no one to 
search the basket the offence would not be detected. But, though 
there is a difficulty in enforcing a gauge on the coasts, there can 
be no difficulty in enforcing it in the markets. It is the interest of 
the fishmonger to refuse under-sized fish, as the smaller fish do not 
pay him ; and there can be very little doubt that, if it were made 
illegal to sell small crabs and lobsters, the chief fishmongers in 
the country would decline to receive them, and the main, induce- 
ment for the fishermen to take them would be removed. 

It is obvious, however, that neither a close season nor a gauge 
can be enforced in the markets, unless the same close season and the 
same gauge are universally, or nearly universally applicable. If it 



Xlll 



be made illegal to sell small crabs and lobsters in London and 
Edinburgh, or to sell them in June, July, and August, it must be 
illegal to sell them from whatever source they may be obtained. 
There is, we, believe no difficulty whatever in enacting that no 
crab under five inches in greatest length, and no lobster under either 
eight inches in length, or four inches in the barrel, shall be sold. 
That law will suit the whole of Scotland, and we understand that it 
will also suit, with exceptions which have been discussed by two of 
us elsewhere, the whole of England. But there is much more 
difficulty in enforcing a close season in the markets. There is no 
doubt whatever that a close season for lobsters from 1st June to 
1st September would be quite suitable to Scotland. But the 
great supply of lobsters for the markets arrives not only from 
Scotland, but from Norway, France, Ireland, and the south-west 
of England. The close season which would suit Scotland would 
certainly not suit England, Norway, and France, and therefore, 
if a close season be enforced at all, it must be enforced on the 
coasts and not in the markets. The difficulty with crabs is even 
greater. It is by no means certain that the same close season for 
crabs is desirable throughout Scotland, or that any close season 
at all is necessary on the north-west coasts. In lieu, therefore, 
of suggesting any general close season for either crabs or lobsters 
we think it better that the Secretary of State should have power 
to prescribe, after inquiry by some competent person, local close 
seasons adapted to the requirements of each district. Such a 
course will, we believe, prove more beneficial to the fisheries 
than the enactment of a uniform close season for the entire country. 

There is another matter which we believe requires attention. Soft or light 
The fishermen who fish in the autumn months are in the habit of crabs, 
destroying large numbers of "soft" or "light" crabs. These 
crabs, which have only recently cast their shells, are worthless as 
food. We propose that it should be illegal to expose these crabs 
for sale. We should have been very glad to have been able to 
recommend that they should not be taken, and we exceedingly 
regret that we cannot do so, for two reasons. First, because, 
as we have already stated, there is no available machinery for 
enforcing a law of this nature on the coast, and we are unable 
to see how any efficient machinery for the purpose can be pro- 
vided except at very great cost ; and, Second, because these crabs 
are used as bait. The only other practicable remedy we believe 
to consist in the institution of local close seasons applicable 
to those places where, and times when, soft or light crabs are 
wantonly destroyed. 

It is alleged that, where mussels are scarce and dear, crabs 
form the best bait for cod, haddocks, and other fish captured 
by means of the long lines ; and that it would, therefore, be a 
great hardship to enact any statutory provision preventing the 
use of the small and soft crabs which it is at present the custom 
to break up and use for bait. A glance at the evidence will 
show the nature of this objection as well as the extent to which 



XIV 

the crabs unfit for human food are broken up and used as bait 
The matter was first prominently brought under our notice at 
Aberdeen, by Mr. William Paul, who stated that he " has 
" often in November himself seen great baskets full of crabs, all 
" of which were unfit for human food. These crabs are used as 
" bait. The breast is pulled off and the back is used. The crab 
" is the best bait, far better than mussels. A line of 40 score 
u hooks is baited, one half with crabs (if they can be got) and one 
" half with mussels or bullock's liver." George Bruce, fisherman, 
Peterhead : — " Uses small crabs for bait in May and June, 
" They are put on hooks to catch cod. During these months 
" small crabs are valuable for bait. . . . Few partans " {i.e. large 
crabs) " are used as bait. If it were made illegal to take these 
" small crabs as bait it would be a little inconvenience to the fisher- 
" men." Alexander Leper, fisherman, Muchalls : — " In the winter 
" crabs are used as bait. . . . Every third hook on the long 
" lines is baited with crabs, while two-thirds of the hooks are 
" baited with mussels and bullock's liver." James Watt, fisher- 
man, Gardenstown — "Would never consent to a law that would 
<( prevent fishermen taking crabs for bait." Andrew Wilson, 
fisherman, Macduff: — " They require a good many crabs for bait. 
" The very smallest are a useful bait. . . . Would have no gauge 
" for crabs, because it would prevent the small ones being used as 
iQ bait." William Davidson, fisherman : — " He must have crabs 
" of all sizes for bait for taking cod ; mussels are no good. The 
*' cod come in seeking the crabs when they are shelling their 
" shells. The bait he uses at that time is soft crabs." John 
Strachan, fisherman, Inverallochy : — " It would be unjust to 
" deprive the fishermen of the use of them " (the crabs) " as bait. 
ee . . . Would greatly object to any law about crabs if the law 
" proposed made it illegal to use crabs for bait during the 
" months of July, August, and September, because the crabs 
" then are the best bait for cod. If a law were made for pro- 
" hibiting the use of crabs for bait it would be broken, especially 
" in the case of old people, who then would be obliged to break 
" the law in order to get a living." Finlay McLean, fisherman, 
Wick : — " A great many crabs are broken up for bait in the 
" course of the year. It would be a great hardship to prevent 
t( the crabs being used for bait. There are six families in one 
" village in Sinclair's Bay who live entirely by using crabs for 
" bait/' 

The above affords sufficient proof of the use of soft and under- 
sized crabs for bait in certain parts of Scotland, and also shows 
that there are a good many persons who think that the destruc- 
tion of those immature crabs and lobsters, which admittedly 
takes place in certain localities on the east coast, is not only 
excusable, but right and necessary, because it supplies a portion 
of the bait required for the long lines. 

On the other hand, several witnesses were of a different 
opinion. George Wood, Johns Haven, says he " has broken up 



XV 



" crabs for bait when bait was scarce. If it were made illegal 
" to take small crabs, wouldn't break them up for bait." Mr. 
Paul, Aberdeen : — " Thinks that the wanton destruction of crabs 
" unfit for food is the cause of scarcity. . . . Thinks that a con- 
" tinuance of this improvident mode of fishing will lead to 
" further evil. . . . The great object of the fishermen is to get 
" crabs for bait. Crabs are the most successful bait. . . . Other 
" bait is always available. The provision of other bait would 
" be more expensive, but the evil would not be comparable with 
" the evil done to the crab fisheries. . . . Taking crabs out of season 
" is almost entirely due to taking crabs for bait. . . . Does not 
" think that the fish caught with crabs as bait compensate the 
" consumer for the crabs that are destroyed." Alex. Leper, fisher- 
man, Muchalls : — " If crabs were prohibited as bait, could get other 
" bait for the long lines/' Walter Noble, fisherman, Fraserburgh : 
— " Partans are very good bait. . . . There is plenty of bait at this 
u time of the year (October). Crabs are easiest managed ; they 
" should not be used for bait/' "William Buchan, fisherman, Fraser- 
burgh : — " Crabs should not be allowed to be used for bait. The 
" fishermen could get other bait." Robert Miller, fisherman, 
North Berwick : — " The cause of the falling off is the use of 
" small crabs as bait for the lines. All the fishers use lines from 
u April to June." James Gullan, fisherman, North Berwick : — 
" A great many partans are used for bait for haddock and 
" whiting. . . . Crabs are only used on every tenth hook. If a 
** Jaw affecting all alike were made that no small partans should 
" be used for bait, he would not object to it, and he should think 
* the other fishermen would agree to it." 

There is, then, much diversity of opinion among the fishermen 
of Scotland as to the expediency or inexpediency of using crabs 
for bait. Without expressing any opinion on the propriety of 
the practice, we may repeat that we cannot recommend any 
legislative interference with its continuance, because we are 
satisfied that if such a law were made it would be impossible to 
enforce it. The soft crab would be broken up out at sea, and no 
one would be able to ascertain whether it was broken up or not. 
The only possible method of interfering with the practice is for 
the Secretary of State to institute a local close season, in which 
no creels or other engines whatever may be used, and in which, 
therefore, scarcely any crabs would be caught. It would perhaps 
be justifiable to institute such a close season during the months 
of October and November, when the soft crabs are chiefly used 
for bait on the Aberdeenshire coast, where the loudest complaints 
were made against the practice, and on the coasts of Haddington- 
shire, where soft or light crabs are wantonly destroyed in these 
months. 

One other recommendation which has been made to us requires Berried crabs 
to be noticed. It has been suggested to us that the sale of and lobsters - 
berried lobsters and berried crabs should be prohibited. So far 



XVI 

as berried lobsters are concerned, we are unable to endorse ^this 
proposal. In the first place, if it were made illegal to take 
berried lobsters, it would not in many cases pay the fishermen 
to pursue the lobster fishery. In the next place, the lobster 
when berried is in the very best possible condition as food, and 
it would be as illogical, therefore, to prohibit its capture as to 
prohibit the taking of herrings with roe in them. But the case 
of berried crabs is different. The berried lobster is the most 
valuable of lobsters ; a berried crab is almost worthless. It would 
be impolitic to enact that no berried lobster should be sold, but 
there would be no difficulty in enacting that no berried crab 
should be sold or exposed for sale. 
Recapitulation. j n terminating this Report we desire to state the conclusions 
at which we have arrived with regard to the crab and lobster 
fisheries in Scotland. These are : — 

First. That the said fisheries have on the whole fallen off during 
the last 30 years, and that there is every probability that they 
will continue to decrease unless some steps are taken to restore 
them. 

Second. That the causes of this decrease are twofold, first, over- 
fishing ; and, second, taking undersized crabs and lobsters. 

Third. We therefore recommend : — 

I. It should be illegal to buy, sell, or offer or expose for sale, 
or have in possession for sale : — 

(1.) Lobsters under either 8 inches in total length or 4 

inches in the barrel. 
(2.) Crabs under 5 inches across the greatest length of 

the back. 
(3.) Soft crabs. 
(4.) Crabs with berries under the apron. 

II. The Secretary of State should have power to institute, 
after inquiry, local close seasons for crabs and lobsters in 
any counties or parts of counties. 

All of which we submit for the consideration of the Secretary 
of State. 

We have the honour to be, 
Sir ?> 
Your obedient servants, 

Frank Buckland. 
S. Walpole. 
Archibald Foung. 
The Right Hon. the Secretary of State, 
Home Office. 



REPORT 



ON THE 



CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 



OF 



IRELAND. 

BY J 

J. ALOYSITJS BLAKE, Esq., Major JOSEPH HAYES, and 
THOMAS F. BEADY, Esq, 

INSPECTORS OP IRISH FISHERIES. 



CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES. 



R E P 11 T 

ON THE 

CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 

OF 

IRELAND. 



Office of Irish Fisheries, 
Sir, 12, Ely Place, Dublin, 31st January 1877. 

"We have now the honour to submit for the infor- 
mation of His Grace the Lord Lieutenant our report upon the 
Crab and Lobster Fisheries of this country, having just con- 
cluded the inquiries made around the coast in accordance with 
the instructions of His Grace as conveyed in your letter of the 
23rd August last. 

Our investigations were confined to the following points, 
being the same as ruled the gentlemen appointed to conduct 
similar inquiries in England and Scotland, viz. : — 

1st. " Whether the Crab and Lobster Fisheries are increasing 
or decreasing." 

2nd. " If they have decreased, the cause of such decrease." 

3rd. The measures which it may be expedient to propose for 
the purpose of arresting any further decrease. 

Appended will be found a list of the places where we held 
official inquiries, and the tenor of the evidence received at each, 
besides which we investigated the question at various other 
places when travelling from one point to another. 

Generally we found that in most places there had been no 
diminution in the supply of lobsters. 

In the localities where it was reported that a decrease had 
taken place in the supply, we found it had arisen from the 
following causes : — 

1st. Along the north and east coasts, because great facilities 
exist for ready transit to the English and Scotch markets by 
steamers plying across Channel, leading to over-nshino-. 

2nd. That in other places, from some of the fishermen having 
obtained different employment, they had abandoned fishino- 
altogether. 

3rd. From the fishermen capturing everything in the shape 
of a lobster that they could take, down even to 3 or 4 inches in 
length. 



It would appear that the demand for lobsters is likely to in- 
crease as greater facilities arise from time to time, by railway 
and steam extension, of getting them to markets where they 
were formerly almost unknown, and that consequently increased 
inducements will be held out for capturing them of every size, 
as it appears that even the smallest meets with ready sale. We 
are strongly of opinion that in order to maintain those fisheries 
where no diminution has taken place in their present produc- 
tiveness, and to restore those where production is said to have 
diminished from over-fishing, that certain restrictions should be 
made respecting the smallest size that should be permitted to be 
captured. 

As regards close season : legislation on this point does not 
appear to be of importance, as during the winter months the 
fishing ceases altogether ; practically it may be said that the 
lobster fishing season in Ireland is between 1st May and 30th 
September, although in a few places the fishing begins some- 
what earlier and continues later. 

With regard to the pea, or berried lobster, the evidence tended 
to show that they are to be had at all times of the year, although 
perhaps in greater abundance in the months of July and August. 

We consider that it is not necessary to interfere with the 
summer fishing by imposing any close time during that period, 
as, from the great uncertainty of the weather and the nature of 
the coasts, although the fishermen would appear to have six 
months for this fishing, yet in reality they often are unable to 
fish during half that time. 

The fishermen almost without exception, and the buyers as 
a body, are in favour of legislation to prevent lobsters under 
9 inches in length, measuring from the end of the tail to the tip 
of the beak, from being taken ; the very few who are opposed to 
this restriction are unimportant in number and intelligence. 

We are quite of this view, as really a lobster under that size 
is of little value, and we strongly recommend that it be made 
illegal under a penalty for any person in any part of the United 
Kingdom to capture, fish for, or aid or assist in taking or fishing 
for, or to buy, sell, or expose to sole, or have in his custody or 
possession, any lobster under the size above mentioned. 

To secure such a law being carried out, it would be necessary 
that certain persons should be authorised and enjoined to seize 
any lobsters found in the possession of any person under the 
specified size, and to proceed against them for the penalties. 

It would appear to us that the proper persons in Ireland 
should be the Inspectors of Irish fisheries, or an}' persons acting 
under their authority, the coast guards, the constabulary and 
police, and market officers in the various towns. 

As regards crabs, with but few exceptions, all around the coast 
there appears to be an abundant supply, but from the difficulty 
of conveying them alive to the principal markets, and there 
being little local demand for them, they are not worth fishing 



Ill 



for, as they seldom produce for the captors more than l()cl to Is. 
per dozen. 

At the present time no legislation would appear to be neces- 
sary as regards crabs ; but in view of additional means of quick 
transit springing up, and markets opening for the sale of this 
fish, it might be well to enact that no crab should be permitted 
to be taken of less than 5 inches in length across the back at its 
greatest measurement. 

We have, &c. 
(Signed) John A. Blake. 
Jos. Hayes. 
„ Thomas F. Brady. 

The Chief Secretary for Ireland, 
&c. &c. &c. 
Dublin Castle. 



40353. 



APPENDIX 

TO 

REPORT ON THE CRAB AND LOBSTER 
FISHERIES 

OF 

ENGLAND AND WALES. 



EVIDENCE. 



Independent School Room, Mevagissey, Friday, 
15th September 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Matthias Dunn (examined by Mr. Buckland). Is a fish buyer. Has lived CRABS. 
45 years in Mevagissey, and has bought the produce of seven boats since 1874. — ■ 

The season for crabs began in February and ended in August. He agreed to Season for. 
pay 26s. per " dozen " for crabs not less than 8 inches along the back ; a dozen 
is 26 • paid the same price (26s.) for two " dozen " (52) crabs under 8 inches, Mode of count- 
but not less than 5| inches. Crabs of less size than b\ inches to be sold as ing. 
humps, pouchers, or shes at 2s. per short dozen (12). When humps are small 
three are counted as two. A small hump would be aboiit 4 inches across the 
back, but they are never measured. The question of size is left to the con- 
science of buyer and seller. Three small male crabs could therefore be spid 
occasionally for 4c/., and each of these would sometimes in a clear season, i.e., 
say from February "to the summer of the following year, or 18 months, grow 
into crabs worth Is. each. Believes that they might grow even more quickly 
than this, if they happened to fall in with good feeding ground. Crabs are 
exceedingly full of meat before casting then shell, and he believes that young Casting their 
crabs will cast their shells as often as they can fill up. Never saw more shell. 
than three she crabs carrying ova during the season. The ova is carried m a Spawning. 
flap or pouch under the belly. On an average in 1874 there were three females, 
to one male. The humps (small male crabs) were thrown in and sold with the 
females (she crabs), and the small male crabs would be sometimes one sixth 
of the whole. As the season advanced the male crabs would be even more 
numerous. The average catch per day during the season for the seven boats 
was about three large crabs, worth Is. each. 

These seven boats fish within 7 miles of Rame Head. The crab fishery 
extends along the coast to a distance of 3 or 3| miles seawards. The Gorran 
Haven fishermen fish eastwards of Fowey, and the Port Looe fishermen fish 

d 2 



CRAY-FISH. 
CRABS. 

Habitat. 



Bait for. 



Migration. 



Breeding. 



Fots. 



Casting their 
shell. 

Growth. 



Gauge. 



Berried. 



Used for bait. 



LOBSTERS. 
Price. 



of Cornwall. He cannot speak as to beyond St. Ives, but the fishery is not pro- 
secuted with so much avidity on the north coast as on the south. Cannot men- 
tion any cove on the south coast where crabs are not caught more or less. In the 
Scilly Islands there are many cray-fish and lobsters, but no crabs. There is very 
little weed for the large crabs. The large crabs live on rocky bottom, the small 
ones on stony and sandy bottom. The trawlers by night find the bed of the 
sea covered with small crabs, which feed by night and retire into the sand by 
day. The depth of water where the large crabs are caught varies from 8 to 
30 fathoms. He prefers the crabs from the deepest water. The largest crabs 
are caught farthest out. Thinks that crabs pick up small rocklings. The 
best bait for crabs are wrasse, shark, gurnet, &c, cut up. The strongest 
smelling bait and the highest coloured has the preference. Stinking bait is 
no good. The white hound is preferred by fishermen because of its smell. 

Crabs migrate to and from the shore. In the spring, the deepest boats 
have the most fish. In the summer the crabs are nearer the land but more 
scattered. In autumn they return back to the deep water, and are lost sight 
of from about the middle of September to the following spring. In December 
he was at Plymouth, and saw humps with well-developed spawn, which had been 
brought in by trawlers from the sea 18 miles out. Saw three humps himself in 
April and May with well-developed spawn ; they were nearly ready to hatch their 
ova. The smallest humps are half an inch, and are to be seen at all times of 
the year ; they are found in the greatest numbers in the spring, above low water 
spring tides, close to the land. Thinks the spawn is deposited out at sea and 
carried in-shore by some arrangement of nature, such as the tides. They breed 
in the winter, and the young ones appear in the spring. The smallest crabs 
seen are as small as small can be. The fishermen use ordinary crab pots, the 
ribs of which are not more than 2 inches apart. These pots will take crabs 
about 2\ inches across, and would catch a 2-inch crab, but not many as 
small as that. The fishermen do not catch crabs as small as the Norfolk 
" toggs ; " if caught they would be thrown back. 

Thinks crabs shoot their shells at least once a year, and as often as they fill 
up. They must cast their shell more than once in 16 months to grow from 
4 inches to 8 inches across. 

The average catch of boats is only three crabs a boat per day ; but they also 
catch lobsters, and a cray-fish or two, and perhaps two dozen humps. One 
boat could set a hundred pots. This, however, is an extreme case. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Considers the present want of a law on the subject un- 
satisfactory, and desires to prohibit the capture of small male and small female 
crabs, and would prohibit the capture of all crabs under b\ inches. The 
Norfolk gauge of A\ inches would be too small. This gauge, 5f inches, would 
be sufficient. There would be no practical difficulty in enforcing a gauge, as 
all the fishermen carry an 8-inch gauge for selling purposes. Would compel 
the fishermen to carry a gauge. Never heard any objection to this, and the 
fishermen would like it. If a gauge were in force locally, it would not pay to 
carry undersized crabs away to any distance ; but it would be better to pro- 
hibit the possession and sale of small crabs. Would also compel the return to 
the sea of crabs carrying berries. Has only seen three crabs carrying berries. 
This regulation would be of no consequence to in-shore fishermen, and would 
only be important to the deep-sea fishermen. The latter take crabs 18 miles 
away from the shore. As the law prohibiting capture would not apply to such a 
case as this, there must be a law against the possession of small crabs, and if 
legislation is to be effective it must affect the possession even more than the 
capture. 

Crabs are not broken up for bait on the coast near Mevagissey, only soft 
crabs. Thinks if it were made illegal to catch or possess small crabs that a 
few would be broken up for bait, but not a great many. It is cheaper to buy 
bait than to catch it. They would be broken up when the bait was scarce. 
Fishermen, however, would use spider crabs and not edible crabs. Crabs go 
out to the deep sea from August to February, and make a close time for them- 
selves. The great point is the capture of small crabs. 
In 1874 witness agreed to buy lobsters of 11 inch 
at Is. each, under 11 inches at 6d. each. There was no other restriction as to 
east of Falmouth. This embraces 1/ or 18 miles of coast. There are crabs 
in every cove from Mevagissey to the Land's End ; in fact all along the coast 



size. Had only 150 lobsters from seven boats in six months. Thinks the ground LOBSTERS, 
is over-fished because his neighbours found some new ground out at sea, ■ — 

three or four miles to the eastward, and caught from 100 to 1/30 lobsters 
a week per boat. Cannot say whether lobsters migrate. About half the 
lobsters were above, and half under, 11 inches in length. Has seen lobsters 
18 inches long, and others only 4 or 5 inches long. These small ones also 
fetch 6d. each. The heaviest he ever saw was 11 lbs. in weight. Has no 
suggestions to make as to legislation for lobsters. 

Robert Pomeroy (examined by Mr. Walpole). Is a fisherman. Lives at CRABS. 
Gorran Haven. Has been fishing for 10 years. Goes crab and lobster 
fishing. There are 24 boats fishing from Gorran. Sells crabs in the neigh- 
bourhood and to smacks from Southampton and other places. Sells crabs above 
8 inches long at Is. 3d. each; below 8 inches and not less than b\ inches, for 
half price. Crabs below 5h inches are sent away as " shes," reckoned at two 
for one, or three for two. The Gorran boats go as far as Deadman Point, and Mode of count- 
from the shore to three miles out. The boats go out about three miles a day. ing. 
The highest number of pots carried by a boat is 84 ; the numbers vary from 
that number down to 60. They sometimes take small crabs. Seven or eight 
large crabs is the average take per day. From May to June the she crabs 
come in and the men get small crabs. They never see she crabs much before 
May, the small crabs come in with them. Has seen a few she crabs with 
berries — one or two in a season. They are always thrown overboard. Thinks 
the crabs spawn out at sea and migrate with the young ones afterwards. Migration. 
Thinks they spawn in deep water in the early part of the year. Crabs are Spawning. 
found on rocks and sand. Rocks are best for lobsters and sand is best for crabs. Habitat. 
Would like to see an Act of Parliament making it compulsory to throw small 
crabs back into the water. Thinks females under 5 inches should be Gauge. 
thrown overboard, and all males under 5| inches. There would be no diffi- 
culty in having two gauges, one for males and one for females. There are a 
great many females above 5 inches and under 5^ inches. The outside size for 
she crabs is 8 or 9 inches. An " outside " male crab would be 12 or 13 
inches. 

Thinks it is not necessary to have a law about females carrying berries, but Serried. 
considers that the trawlers bringing in berried hens do a great injury to the 
crab fishers, and this should be prevented. But the trawlers could cut away Trawlers. 
the berries, and the crabs could be afterwards sold. Never saw a crab with the 
berries cut out or removed, and could not say whether it could be detected. 

Nature makes a close season, and no legal close time is necessary. The only Close time. 
regulation necessary is the prohibition of the capture of small crabs. Crabs are 
not decreasing in numbers. Thinks there are more crabs caught than ever. Increase. 
But fishermen go further out to sea for them. There are a great many more 
fishermen than there were. Some seasons crabs are more plentiful than they 
are at others. Crabs are dearer than they were, but this is due rather to an 
increased demand than to diminished supply. They are sent to all the large 
towns in England. Thinks if small crabs were thrown away there would be an 
increase of big ones. There is no want of food, and the supply might be 
increased. There is plenty of food for double the number of crabs. 

Thinks crabs migrate from place to place. Cannot tell the age of crabs nor Casting their 
the rate of growth. A crab of 4 inches would cast his shell three times before slieU - 
he reached 8 inches. Has marked a soft crab with his initials in July 
or August, and in the following spring has caught a hard crab with the same 
initials. It was about 8| inches across when marked. Does not know whether 
the crab grew much after it was marked, but thinks not. 

There are 24 boats at Gorran Haven, five or six at Mevagissey, and 26 at 
Port Looe. 

The lobster season begins on January 1st and ends at the end of September. LOBSTERS. 
Lobsters are fished for in deep water till August, and inshore after then. The t ~ — 
boats come inshore in August to get out of the way of the drift nets, or they Migratwn - 
would keep in deep water. The average take per boat per day is one or two 
lobsters. A lobster of 11 inches sells for Is. 3d., under that size for half price. 
About half the catch are 11 inches long. Berried hens are very scarce ; they are 
found chiefly in the spring. Thinks lobsters spawn off-shore, in deep water. Spawning. 
Lobsters are not increasing in number, indeed they are not so plentiful as Decrease. 
they were. Perhaps they are over-fished in the deep water where most of the 



LOBSTERS. 

Spawning. 



Pots. 
Bait. 

CRABS. 

Used for bait. 

No decrease. 



Gauge. 



Spawning. 



Increase. 



LOBSTERS. 



Increase. 



Price. 

CRABS. 

Decreased size. 



Gauge. 



Price. 



berried hens are caught. The only way to make them more plentiful is to 
prohibit their capture in deep water, but this would be beyond territorial 
limits and could not be enforced. There are so few berried hens caught that 
it is not worth while putting them back. No berried hens are under 10| 
inches, and that is very rare,, they are usually above 11 inches. Very few 
undersized lobsters are taken. Calls small lobsters those under 6 inches. 
Lobsters do not breed when they are small. Does not think it would do to 
have a gauge for lobsters. Crab and lobster pots are identical, and crabs and 
lobsters are sometimes taken in the same pot. The same bait does for both. 
Fresh fish is the best bait, and neither crabs nor lobsters will go in unless there 
is some smell in the fish. 

The fishermen break up crabs as bait for wrasse, &c, but not for crabs. 
Thinks the fishermen would not generally break up the small crabs for bait. 
The spider crabs are generally used for this purpose, and are as good a bait as 
the common crabs. 

James Billing, of Gorran Haven {examined by Mr. BucJcland). Has been 
crab fishing for 40 years. The crabs are not less numerous than they were 40 
years ago. They vary in certain seasons. There are now more fishermen in 
search of them, and so they may not catch so much per boat. 40 years ago 
there were five or six boats; there are now 24 boats, and yet there are as many 
crabs as ever. The sizes are the same now as formerly. There are as many 
large crabs as there used to be. Does not think a close season for crabs 
necesssary, as there is a natural close season. Thinks little crabs should be 
put back into the water. Would keep all crabs 5-i- inches across, and throw 
overboard those of 5 inches and under. Agrees with Mr. Pomeroy as to a 
gauge of 5 inches for females and 5^ inches for males. Never sees any " seeding 
crabs " (berried hens) except in spring, and then only a very few. He throws 
overboard " seeding crabs." This is generally done. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Thinks there is no decrease in the number of crabs, but 
wants legislation because little crabs could grow into big ones. There are 
now 24 boats where there used formerly to be only six, and the 24 boats catch 
more than the six. More little crabs, as well as big ones, are taken. There 
are more crabs caught now than there were 40 years ago. Does not think there 
were more big crabs in the sea 40 years ago then there are now. 

The fishermen catch as many lobsters now as they did 40 years ago. As 
they get more money per lobster, each boat earns more money. There is no 
decrease in the number of lobsters 5 in fact, though there are 24 boats instead 
of six, his boat catches more lobsters than it did 40 years ago. He used to go 
out about the 14th January, Now he goes out close on Christmas. Does not 
think it necessary to have any legislation for lobsters. Agrees with Mr. 
Pomeroy's evidence as to the price of lobsters. 40 years ago lobsters were 
sold at 7s. a dozen above 11 inches in length. Below that size two lobsters 
counted as one. 

Thomas Ley. Is 73 years of age, Lives at Mevagissey. Has been 
crabbing for 12 or 14 years. This was 50 years ago 5 but recollects crab 
fishing for 63 years past. In the interim has been seining. There are not so 
many large crabs as there used to be, but there are more small crabs. When 
he was a boy he caught 20, 30, or 40 large crabs, measuring 8 inches across, 
a day. This was with 40 pots ; now with 40 pots he would not catch more than 
three or four. Thinks the large crabs have got scarcer because there are so 
many boats after them. 55 years ago there were five boats, now there is not 
one from Mevagissey, but the Gorran men fish there. Does not himself go 
crabbing now, and cannot tell what Gorran men catch. When he said they 
caught three or four crabs a day, it was from hearsay. The crabs brought to 
market now are not so large as they used to be. The crabs come to the 
ground from deep water. The fishermen cannot fish out of the ground. 
There is very little trawling off Mevagissey because the ground is rough — rocky 
and stony. Rough ground is favourable for breeding crabs. Would prohibit 
the capture of all crabs under 5 inches. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) His evidence relates to 50 years ago. His evidence as to 
crabs now is hearsay evidence. There was no law about crabs when he was a 
lad. Crabs when he was a boy were 8s. a " long dozen " of 26, from 
March to May ; after May they were 6s. a dozen of 26. This was 50 years 
ago. 



Has seen lobsters all sizes. They are just the same in size and numbers as lobsters. 
they used to be. Has no other recommendation to make. jVb decrease 

James Pawlyn (examined by Mr. Walpole). Is a fish merchant at Mevagissey. 
Has been 10 or 12 years in business. Deals in crabs and lobsters with the 
Gorran men, and along the coast. There are six boats at Fowey. One at Boats. 
Polkerris, one at Par, three at Charlestown, two at Porthpean ; two principal 
crabbers and three others at Mevagissey. 24 at Gorran, 24 at Port Looe, 
one at Port Holland, about five or six at Porthscatho. 

Ten years ago the highest price for crabs of 8 inches and over was 9d. CRABS. 
Under 8 inches two counted for one. Those under 6* inches went for " shes " p ricCt 
and the price was \\d. each. 

Lobsters under 11 inches sold for 9d., below that size two went for one. Now LOBSTERS, 
the highest price for crabs of 8 inches is Is. 3c?. Under 8 inches two count Price. 
for one. Under 6 inches they go for " shes," and sell at 2\d. each. The 
Gorran crabs fetch the highest price. The ground there is more rocky and 
better than elsewhere in the neighbourhood. The best fish are caught from 
January to May. The price has increased about one half. 

He gets fewer big crabs than he did 10 years ago and fewer lobsters. The ■ Decrcase - 
size of the lobsters remains about the same. Has the whole take of some men 
whose take he had 10 years ago. These men do not fish less, but fish harder 
than they did. They have more craft and positively take fewer fish. The 
seasons vary, but the produce is falling off. Attributes the falling off to the 
small crabs being taken. The small crabs areas numerous as ever; but the 
price of small crabs has risen through the increased demand and the deficient 
supply of large crabs. People now buy small crabs where they used to buy C RAB S, 
a big one. Sends his crabs and lobsters everywhere, to Birmingham, Bristol, 
Gloucester, &c. Proposes to prohibit the capture of all he crabs under 6| Gauge. 
inches, and of all " shes " under b\ inches. She crabs are good when smaller 
than he crabs. He crabs grow larger. Has not seen many seeding crabs in all 
his experience. They spawn far out to sea. Prefers his gauge to that of the Spawning. 
Gorran men. Has no other recommendation to make as to crabs. toustftk 

The supply of lobsters is falling off as much as that of crabs, especially at 

Fowey. Eight or ten years ago he used to get double the number he gets Berried. 
now. All the take comes to him. 

The remedy is not to take the berried hens, but they are the best fish, and 
very numerous in the early part of the year. There is a demand for them in 
the London market, and they fetch a high price. If the capture of berried 
hens were prohibited there would not be' enough lobsters to supply the 
demand. Does not think, if the capture of berried hens were prohibited, that the 
fishermen would remove the berries. They might remove them when they 
were very ripe. Would not personally consent, for the sake of future benefit, r 
to sacrifice the present advantage of selling berried hens. Would prohibit au ° c ' 
the capture of all lobsters under 8 inches long. About 1 in 6 or 1 in 
10 are under 8 inches. Thinks this would help to arrest decrease, but would 
not be sufficient. Is not, however, prepared to recommend the prohibition of 
the capture of berried hens, which would entail a serious loss on fishermen 
and salesmen. Undersized fish pay the fisherman better than the salesman, as 
they do not pay for the cost of carriage. 

(Examined by Mr. Buckland.) Never saw many seeding crabs. Thinks crabs Ptymngcmd 
spawn far out to sea. Crabs and lobsters are sent away alive. He does not 
plug the crabs, but cuts them, so that they may not bite one another. The 
crabs that are boiled are boiled alive. Lobsters go up by ordinary train. Few 
are boiled here. They reach London in 24 hours. CRABS 

Peter Billing, nephew to James Billing. Has heard Mr. Pawlyn's 

evidence. Thinks Mr. Pawlyn is wrong in thinking that crabs are decreasing. No decrease. 

Mr. Pawlyn gets as many fish from the fishermen as he used to do 10 years 

ago, if not more. He himself catches as many crabs as he used to do, and he 

has fished for nearly 20 years. There are as many crabs and as many lobsters, 

but there are more boats to divide them between. Each boat takes less, but 

the fish are on the whole as plentiful as ever. Thinks that no legislation is 

necessary, but agrees with Mr. Pomeroy's, and Mr. James Billing's evidence 

as to a 5-inch gauge for females, and a 5^-inch gauge for males ; but he would Gauge. 

himself recommend no law, as crabs are not decreasing. 

Fishes in the same place as he used to do, and does not fish more in- 






LOBSTERS, shore. Can catch small crabs in and out. Small crabs are very numerous 



Norwegian. 
Spawning. 



CRABS. 

No decrease. 



Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



CRABS. 



LOBSTERS. 



Weather. 
Norwegian. 



CRAY-FISH. 

Decrease. 

CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Price. 
Spawning. 



Mr. Pawlyn's proposed 8-inch gauge for lobsters would take in all the 
lobsters from Norway and Shetland, and stop all the trade with those countries, 
Cannot get himself enougli large lobsters to get a living, and is obliged to 
catch small ones. A few lobsters may come within shore to spawn. If the 
capture of berried hens were stopped the fishermen would not get a living 
by lobster fishing. The little crabs get out of the pots. He throws overboard 
all small crabs under 5 inches across. As the fishermen do throw overboard 
all the small crabs now, a law to compel them to do so would make no 
practical difference. 

Norway lobsters are under 8 inches, or about that size. They are a very 
small lobster. Thinks big crabs are as plentiful as ever. 

David Paton. Lives at Gorran, and has been crabbing for 12 years. Thinks 
he has taken as many crabs this year as ever, and there are more now than 
any other year. The end of the season has been the best for 12 years. Sells 
his crabs to Mr. Pawlyn. There is no decrease in the number. Has sold 
more in previous years, but has sold them to other people this year. Mr. 
Pawlyn took his fish up to the end of June or July, and after that they were 
sold to other people. Hence Mr. Pawlyn knew nothing about it. Agrees 
with Mr. Pomeroy and Mr. Billing that all " shes " under 5 inches, and all 
" hes " under 5| inches should be thrown away. Thinks this would make 
crabs more plentiful. These small crabs are sold now as two for one. Lobsters 
are just as plentiful as ever. Would like to turn away all lobsters under 6 
inches long. These small lobsters are sold now, but not often taken. There 
are so few lobsters under 6 inches caught that it would not be worth while to 
make a law to affect them. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) Small she crabs breed. Throwing back the small crabs 
would increase the breeding stock. When he sees crabs with seed they are 
generally small ones. Large he crabs are 13 inches. Large females are 9 
inches. Living is bad now, and must not be made worse. 

Richard Climo. Lives at Gorran Haven. Thinks lobster seasons vary. There 
are more boats now than there used to be, and they catch more fish altogether, 
but less per boat. Used to go lobstering 40 or 50 years ago at Polruan. 
There was then only one boat, to work five or six miles of ground, now there 
are 10 or 12 boats on the same ground. In the old times there were good 
years and bad years, and there are good years and bad years now. The finer 
the weather the better the lobsters. 

Was in Norway during the Russian war 20 years ago. The people brought 
lobsters on board for sale. They were all small, 9 inches and under. Never saw 
a lobster of 11 inches in Norway. Thinks the Norway lobsters are generally 
a smaller kind than ours. They are the bright blue lobsters. Has seen lobster 
the length of his finger ; they have been thrown away as too small. The small 
lobsters generally go through the pots. The small ones are generally caught 
in bait pots, the ribs of which are much closer together. All lobsters caught 
in a lobster pot are marketable. 

There used to be cray-fish at Fowey, and they were very plentiful. They 
are very scarce now. Thinks they go in shoals. 

John Hunkin. Lives at Mevagissey. Is 73 years old. Is a fisherman. 
Has been a mariner, and has not been crab fishing since he was 18 years old. 
There were three boats at Mevagissey then. Used to go to the ground where 
the Gorran men now go, but never fished in deep water or above a mile 
from shore. Crabs were very plentiful. Used to fish with 100 pots and some- 
times had 50, 20, 12, or 10 large crabs a day. These were crabs upwards 
of 8 inches across. Used to throw away all she crabs. There was no sale 
for the she crabs. Does not know whether it would be possible to catch 
as many crabs now; but thinks they are decreasing. Large crabs are 
scarcer. There are more than double the number of boats. Crabs used to be 
8s. a dozen of 26, and the price fell in May to 6s. per dozen. The railway has 
opened up a larger market, and the increased price recently may be due to it. 
A large crab which sold when he was a boy for 6d. or 4c?. would be worth 2s. 6d. 
Agree? with proposal to throw back small crabs. Has caught berried lobsters 
in May and June, ready to spawn. Has also caught she crabs. 

Thomas Pollard. Has been in the crab and lobster trade three years. 



This is the best year he ever knew. Does not know whether this is due to the CRABS, 
hot weather. It may be so. Warm rainy weather with westerly winds are good w ea tj^T 
for crab catching. Agrees with the recommendation already given, to throw Gauge. 
back she crabs under 5 inches, and hes under 5i inches, and has no other 
suggestion to make. 

Joseph Climo, of Polruan. The Gorran men are unanimously of opinion that 
there should be a law to prevent the capture of she crabs under 5 inches, and 
of he crabs under 5.V inches. There need be no law for lobsters. 



Town Hall, Falmouth, Saturday, 16th September 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

John Tremayne, M.P. for East Cornwall. Took a considerable interest in 
the Crab and Lobster Fisheries (Norfolk) Bill when it was before Parliament last 
session. Knowing the importance of the crab and lobster fisheries of Cornwall, 
he placed himself in communication with all the fishing ports from Brighton to 
St. Ives. Has also been in communication with Messrs. Poland, of Billinsgate 
Market, and Messrs. Sheppard, of the Haymarket, London. From the evidence 
there collected he has come to the conclusion that crabs and lobsters are j) ecrease 
diminishing in quantity, size, and quality. 

At Bog nor, J. Wraggles, a fisherman, told him that the fishery will die out in 
a few years. A few years ago he could catch 60 lbs. of lobsters in a day, now 
he can only catch 24 lbs. He thinks the saleable size for lobsters should be Gauge. 
a quarter of a pound weight. 

At Selsea, William Legge, a pilot and fisherman for 40 years, told him the 
fishery has deteriorated quite one half. He thinks cray-fish should be pro- 
tected under any Act for the protection of crabs and lobsters. Crabs and Brecd i ng ^ 
lobsters spawn twice a year. Hence fishing early and late has been the cause of 
the decrease. No crabs or lobsters should be caught before 1st March, nor after 
the 31st October. The minimum size should be half a pound. No difference Close time. 
need be made between male and female crabs. Crabs in spawn, and berried Berried. 
lobsters should be returned to sea at all times of the year. 

At Sidmouth, according to the testimony of the leading fishermen, the 
fishery has fallen off both in the quantity and size of the fish, particularly Decrease. 
when compared with 50 years ago. It has not fallen off so much lately, still 
to a certain extent it has diminished. The fishermen doubt whether legisla- 
tion would be willingly received, but without legislation the fishery must 
become extinct in a short time. Lobsters spawn first in April and May, and 

for a second time in October and November. Lobster pots should not be used L0 S ' 

from September to January. The fishermen are unanimously of opinion that Spawning. 
berried hens (both crabs and lobsters) should be returned to the water. There Close time. 
are few caught on that coast. 

At Budleigh Salterton, Mr. Bird says the well-to-do fishermen are in CRABS, 
favour of a protection Act ; those who live from hand to mouth oppose it. ^ ~~ : 
Crabs have not decreased there in number but in size. Crabs in spawn are ec)ease ; 
rarely caught owing to rough weather preventing fishing. The fishermen 
would approve of a standard of size for fish. Lobsters spawn from March to LOBSTERS. 
September ; a close time would therefore be impossible. Berried hens should - — 

be returned to the sea. The penalty should be enforced on the salesman. As s P awnin 9- 
many as 40 spawning lobsters are sometimes brought ashore in a morning. 

At East Looe he saw the fishermen, and had a memorial from them. They 
are in favour of protective legislation, and would agree to a close time for six close time. 
months in the year. There is a practical close time, owing to the pilchard Pilchard fish- 
season, which commences in July. Crabs should be returned to the sea of less tn 9- 
than 4| inches. Female crabs and lobsters are supposed to watch their young. Gauge. 
In the early part of the year shell fish are full of meat and of delicious flavour. In 
May and June there are only a few she lobsters, and they are very small. After 
then the lobsters are rich. Lobsters of 1 lb. weight, or 10 inches long, should 



8 



CRABS. 

Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 

Berried. 
Gauge. 
Close time. 



CRAY-FISH 

LOBSTERS. 

Spawning. 



Gauge. 



CRABS. 

Meat in. 



Decrease. 
Boats. 



Price. 



Used for bait. 
Gauge. 



be sizeable fish. The small crabbers would object to any close time. They 
cannot fish during the hard weather. 

At Polperro, Mr. Laughrin, a coastguard officer, who was out with the 
" Challenger," said the fishery had much degenerated, and that a protection 
Act should be passed. The crab fishermen there are in favour of protection. 
No crab less than 5 inches across should be taken, and there should be no 
distinction between males and females. There is no regular time for lobsters 
spawning; berried hens are caught all the year round. No lobsters should be 
taken less than 7 inches long. August would be the best close time for 
lobsters. Cray-fish should be protected. 

At Polruan, Joseph Climo, fish salesman, averred that there was a great 
decrease in the number of crabs and lobsters on the Cornish coast. They are 
much scarcer, and very small, owing to the pots being out all the year round 
in some places. The fishermen would not object to a close season, if it were 
in accordance with the natural law. The close time should commence on the 
1st October and terminate on the 1st March. It would be a great advantage 
to the fishermen to return all berried hens to the sea; but legislation on this 
point would do no good, because the berries could be removed. Lobsters 
under 6 inches, male crabs under 5 inches, and female crabs under 4 inches, 
should be returned to the sea. Cray-fish require the same protection as crabs. 

At Penzance, Mr. John Bolitho said there should be a close time from 
May to September, when lobsters are in spawn. Thousands of small crabs are 
sent to London to make lobster sauce. The fishermen would not object to a 
limit of 4i inches for crabs. Lobsters are rarely found under 8 inches. He 
disapproves of all legislation for berried hens. Two fifths of all lobsters caught 
are berried hens. 

At St. Ives, Mr. Rosewall says, the fishermen admit that fish have dimi- 
nished in quantity rather than in size. The fishing commences at Mid- 
summer and ends in September. A close season would be of no importance. 
Berried hens are in great demand. No lobster less than 7 inches should be 
taken. 

(By Mr. BucHand.) Thinks it would be impossible to have legislation about 
berried hens ; any law on the subject would be evaded. The only thing to do 
is to regulate the minimum size for lobsters and crabs ; it is essential that 
there should be one size, which must apply to Billingsgate. Does not appre- 
hend that small crabs would be broken up for bait. It is the practice on the 
East and French coasts to use crabs for bait ; but not in Cornwall, unless there 
is a deficiency of bait. Thinks, on the authority of Mr. T. Cornish, that every 
fish should have one year of spawning maturity before it is saleable. Six 
inches for lobsters would be equivalent to no size at all. Mr. Cornish says 
the meat in a crab of 4£ inches weighs If oz. A crab of 7 inches in average 
condition would contain 5 oz. of meat ; these weights are exclusive of the 
cream. 

John Chard (examined by Mr. Walpole). Is a fishmonger in Falmouth. 
Has been in business 16 years ; deals largely in shell fish, and has sent away 
from 30 to 40 tons this season. Purchases them from fishermen on the coast 
between Coverack and Gerran. Gets the whole take of these fishermen, and 
has had men fishing for him for 16 years, and for his father 10 years previously. 
The take of these men in crabs, lobsters, and every fish, is decreasing in 
quantity. The size of the fish is not diminishing. Crabs are as large as ever. 
The are not so many fishermen at the local fishing stations as there used to be. 
There is a great decrease in the number of boats. At Porthscatho there are 
four boats now, while there used to be eight ten years ago. This decline is due to 
scarcity of fish. He used to pay 14s. per dozen of 26 ; now pays 26s. to 30s. 
Two small crabs under 5i inches go for one. He used to pay lOd. or Is. for 
she crabs ; now pays 2s. to 2s. 6d . The railway is partly the cause of this. 
Sells fish on commission. Attributes the scarcity to the destruction of small 
crabs and lobsters in pots and trammel nets. The watery crabs, not fit for 
market, are crushed up and used for bait. What the fishermen cannot sell 
they destroy. Sees no remedy short of appointing men to watch the pots for 
white soft crabs. Trammels should be stopped during the first nine months 
of the year. The Coastguard force might be employed to carry out the law. No 
male crabs under 6\, or female crabs under 6 inches, or lobsters under 8-| inches 
should be in anyone's possession. Crab pots with fine bars are made to catch 



wrasse ; small crabs are one of the best bait for wrasse. Spider crabs are also CRABS. 

used. Unless the Coastguard were directed to carry out the law, small fish j^ for. 

would infallibly be broken up for bait. The efficacy of the law must depend 

on the Admiralty giving permission to the Coastguard to enforce it. A close LOBSTERS. 

season should be made for female lobsters, from 1st March to 30th April, when C i me ^~ m 

they are full of berries. This law should apply to Cornwall, but it would he 

difficult to have a merely local law. Since he saw an advertisement of this Berried. 

inquiry, a month ago, he has had 400 lobsters, and only 18 berried hens. 

Infers from this that the breeding season is from March to April. Male 

lobsters would be sufficient to supply the trade. Thinks female lobsters would 

not be broken up for bait. 

(By Mr. Buck land.) There are as many large crabs as ever, but the fishermen Railways- 
go for them to deeper water. They go further in pursuit of crabs than they 
used to do. The railway has had a great tendency to take crabs, &c, away 
from Falmouth. Trammels vary from 30 to GO fathoms in length. They are LOBSTERS, 
used in deep water. The majority of the fishermen would welcome a pro- t - — 
tection Act, but the minority, say, 2 out of 7, would break up small crabs. ree ma ' 
Fishmongers are very anxious to have berried hens. He thinks lobsters only CRABS. 

spawn once a year. Considers a lobster 9 inches long to be three years old ; a . 

lobster of 5 inches was the smallest he ever had. Has seen lobsters cast their $J^f Wflr ^* r 
berries against the boards of tanks in which they are kept. Never saw small 
lobsters. Thinks lobsters shed their shells every year. Thinks crabs of a cer- 
tain age never shed their shells. When they have done growing they do not 
require new coats. A white crab is the ordinary crab in a delicate state, having 
shed its shell; it is semi-transparent. The shell is so soft as to be easily 
broken, like fine glass. Thinks crabs in this state are just getting a new shell. 
White, thin crabs never have any barnacles stuck to them. 

Crabs are sent away alive, and are boiled alive, being put into cold water, Boiling. 
and gradually heated. If they were put into boiling water, 10 crabs out of 
every 12 would shoot their claw or claws, and the cream would boil out. If 
they are killed first, by being stuck in the centre of the body, they bleed, and 
the flavour is gone. Knows this of his own knowledge. He never plugs 
lobsters. This is done at Durgan, but at Falmouth the claws are nicked. 
This is done to prevent them fighting, and does not have the effect of bleeding 
them. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) The boats at Porthscatho are reduced from 8 to 4; p ts. 
consequently the number of crab catchers is reduced, and the smaller number 
cannot catch as many crabs as the larger number. The four boats carry as many 
pots as the eight boats used to. The number of catchers is diminished, but the 
catching machinery is greater. 

Richard Collins. Lives at St. Mawes. Has been acquainted with the 
crab and lobster fisheries for 14 years. There are 13 boats now at St. Mawes — 
more than ever was known. They carry on an average 45 pots, or 500 to 600 
pots in the aggregate. The fishermen fish from the shore to 5 miles out. 
They go further out now than formerly. He thinks crabs and lobsters are not 
so plentiful as they used to be, though there are more men engaged. There 
are fewer fish now than there used to be. Attributes this to the destruction of Decrease. 
small fish ; the fishermen sell more small fish than they used to. He would 
be glad to see the destruction of small fish prevented; viz., female crabs Gauge. 
under 6 inches; male crabs under 8 inches; and lobsters under 9 inches; and 
cray-fish under 11 inches. 

Small crabs are not much used as bait; a few sickly crabs are broken up, Used for bait. 
but the fishermen are plentifully supplied with bait. The ribs of the pots are 
less than 3 inches apart now. Cannot say whether this should be altered. 
Recommends a close season, so as not to allow fishing before the 1st March. 
Drift-net fishing interferes with the crab fishing in July, August, and PMelMrdfish- 
September. Crabs have a close season in those months when the pilchard nets m °' 
are out, so a legal close season is not necessary. Five out of seven fishermen 
would be glad of a gauge for crabs ; but there might be a difference of opinion 
as to the size of the gauge. 

Is a fisherman, and entirely dependent on fishing for his living ; chiefly 
seining, crab fishing only occasionally. There are men at St. Mawes who 
are entirely dependent on crab and lobster fishing. Some of them would object 
to legislation, but they ought to be in favour of it. 



10 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Gauge. 
Railways. 

LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

Close time. 
Spawning. 
Berried. 

CRABS. 

Decrease. 



Travelling. 



LOBSTERS. 



Migration. 



Decrease. 



There are more fishermen now at St. Mawes than there were ever before in 
his remembrance. Never knew so many. The men cannot get anything else 
to do, and so have to take to it. Thinks they are making a worse livelihood 
than their ancestors. They get better prices, but this is not equivalent to what 
they used to make at a lower price. 

John Downing. Is captain of Mr. Baccup's yacht. Has been acquainted 
with Falmouth, Durgan, and Helford rivers for 25 years. Has got his living 
by crab and lobster fishing. Was fishing last April two years — in April 1874 
— and had been doing so for 25 years previously. Crabs were more plentiful 
when he was a boy than they are now. A boat could take 18 to 20 large crabs 
when he was a boy, i.e., crabs of 8 inches and upwards, and perhaps six or 
nine lobsters in a day. In 18/4 a boat would have taken three or four large 
crabs, and about the same number of lobsters. It is a rare thing now to get over 
four large crabs. When he was a boy there were eight boats fishing on this 
ground. Now there are nine boats. They carry much the same number of 
pots as they used to do. Attributes this large decrease to the capture of small 
fish, and fish in spawn. When he was a boy the fishermen used to return all 
small fish to the water : any male crabs under 6 inches, and females under 
5 inches, would be then thrown back. The market was not good enough for 
the small crabs. The railway has caused the demand for small crabs. Nine 
out of ten crabs will be females. The females never bring so good a price as 
the males. Would recommend that all male crabs under 8 inches, and females 
under 6 inches should be thrown back. Does not think that if this were done 
the fishermen would break up the undersized crabs for bait. They have 
enough bait. There are not many wrasse pots at Durgan. Does not 
know what the . fishermen do at the Lizard. Would recommend that no 
lobsters under 9 inches long should be taken. This law should apply to 
buyer, seller, and fisher. Thinks the 9-inch gauge would destroy the import 
trade in lobsters with Norway, and this trade is important. Thinks there 
should be a close season from October 1st to March 1st. This would stop 
crab fishing in January and February, and would save breeding lobsters. 
Thinks lobsters breed all the year round, and that it is not more important to 
close June and July than January and February. Would prohibit the sale of 
berried hens ; does not think fishermen would remove the berries. The offence 
could be detected; but it would require skill to detect it. All lobsters in 
spawn should be returned to the sea. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) When he was a boy small crabs were returned to the 
sea, because there was no market for them. 

Howard Fox, of Falmouth. Has conversed with crabbers at Mullion and 
other places near the Lizard ; they all state that crabs and lobsters are much 
scarcer than they used to be. The fishermen have to use more pots and 
go further from home to get a living. These men would all like a law en- 
forcing the return of small crabs to the sea. Crabs are too tender a bait for 
deep-sea fishing with hocks ; the danger would be that small crabs would be 
used as bait for the wrasse pots. The majority of the fishermen would only be 
too happy to see a law on the subject. The law must be enforced on the pos- 
sessor, not on the taker. Large cray-fish are occasionally caught. Crabs will 
travel great distances even with their claws tied. Some years ago a small 
trading craft was taking shell fish from Mullion to Plymouth and she sank 
off Fowey. Shortly afterwards a fisherman at Mullion caught some of the 
identical crabs in his pots at Mullion, a distance of over 40 miles. He knew 
the crabs were the same he had previously captured, because he tied their 
claws with a peculiar knot, and the knots were still on them. Other instances 
of the same kind have happened in this neighbourhood. 

J. C. Kennerley, of St. Mawes. Has received large lobsters, two within 
the last 15 months : one weighed 10 lbs., the other 9f lbs. Thinks the St. 
Mawes fishermen would agree with Mr. Collins' evidence, and that they desire 
to be protected against themselves. Undersized lobsters should be returned to 
the sea. Thinks crabs and lobsters migrate to deep water. There are certain 
holes where a crab may always be found. 

Thomas Webber, Mayor of Falmouth. Agrees with Mr. Kennerley's 
evidence. Knows many fishermen at St. Mawes, and thinks they would endorse 
Mr. Collins' evidenced The catch of crabs and lobsters at St. Mawes is 
decreasing. His knowledge of the fisheries is only hearsay knowledge. Think 



11 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



it a pitiful sight to see small crabs and lobsters exposed for sale, and considers 
that a short Act should be passed to prevent their destruction. 

Arthur Chard. Is father of John Chard. Was in early life a 
trawler, and afterwards dealt in crabs and lobsters as a fishmonger, ('rubs 
and lobsters are falling off in quantity, and have diminished more, than oiw, 
half. Thinks this is due to the destruction of small crabs and to trawl boats 
catching female crabs in the early part of the year, February and March. These 
are caught from 6 to 18 miles from shore, and any law could only be applied in 
such a case to the sale of these crabs. Any law on the subject must apply to Berried. 
every place in the country. Would prohibit the sale of crabs with spawn, but 
not of berried lobsters. Could not detect any difference between a lobster from 
which the spawn had been taken artificially, and one that had spawned naturally. 
The only practical legislation would be to prohibit the capture of small fish. 
No female crabs under 5i inches and no male crabs under (> inches should be Gauge. 
taken. It would be no use to make this law, unless the minimum of <> inches 
were applicable to the whole country. A crab can run 18 miles in two days, as 
was found near the Dodman, in a case similar to that related by Mr. Howard Travelling. 
Fox. 



LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 
Gauge. 



St. Mawes, Saturday, 16th September 1876. 

Present: 
Spencer Walpole, Esquire. 

William Green. Has been crab and 'lobster fishing for 40 years, and 
has practised it every year. There are rather more than 13 boats employed. 
The fishery is now quite different from what it used to be. Formerly fish were 
more plentiful and the price was less ; now the price is greater and fish are 
scarcer. Forty years ago he could catch as many crabs in a day as he would Decrease. 
now catch in a week. A fisherman going out now will sometimes catch nothing, 
or he may catch two or three, or sometimes 10 or 12. There are more men 
engaged now, but there were as many boats 20 years ago as there are now, and 
they caught more crabs. Lobsters also are getting scarcer every year. The ground 
is over-worked, and too many small crabs are kept. There ought to be a 
minimum size, below which all crabs should be thrown overboard. Would 
like to see all crabs under 6 inches, thrown overboard. A lobster of 6 inches 
is very small; 8| or 9 inches should be the minimum size for lobsters, and all 
below that size should be thrown overboard. Berried hens are found all 
through the year, but chiefly in March and April. It would be a great loss 
to close the hen lobster fishery in the spring. You may put berried hens into 
lobster store-pots, and the other lobsters would eat out the berries. A law of 
size would be of very little use. In the spring of the year no large she crabs 
are seen, but in the summer they are caught. 

Charles Henry Chambers. Has fished for crabs and lobsters for 30 
years. Crabs and lobsters are decreasing in number. Thinks small he crabs 
and small she crabs should be protected : he crabs under 6 inches, and she Gaug, 
crabs under 5 inches. A he crab is half as large again as a she crab. All 
lobsters under 8 inches long should be thrown away, and there should be a 
penalty on buyer, seller, and taker. This would have a good effect; crabs 
would not be broken up for bait. There is a ground outside St. Mawes 
where lobsters do not grow large; out of 20 only five or six will measure 11 
inches. Would object to any law about berried hens, which are much better to Berried 
eat than " shotten " lobsters. There is as much difference between a berried 
hen and a shotten lobster, as there is between a herring full of roe and a shotten 
herring. 

William Green. Agrees that crabs and lobsters are decreasing in number. 
Many years ago he caught 100 crabs and cray-fish at one haul of a trammel, 
and now he cannot get 13 or 14 in a day. Has no doubt that they are 
decreasing ; agrees with the proposal made by Mr. Green as to a restriction on 
the size. Trammels must be used or there would be no bait, and they must 



CRABS. 



LOBSTERS. 



Gauge. 






12 



CRABS. 
Gauge. 



reach to the bottom of the sea ; or they would catch nothing. All crabs, 
whether male or female, under 6 inches, and all lobsters under 8| inches, 
should be returned to the sea. If this is not done the fishing will soon be 
ruined. 

Richard Collins (cousin to R. Collins, examined at Falmouth). Agrees 
that fish are becoming scarcer, and would have all crabs, male or female, under 
6 inches, thrown back. The size proposed by the former fishermen, 5| inches 
for males, and 5 inches for females, is too small. Richard Collins, of Falmouth, 
is not a crabber. 



N.B. — There were three other witnesses in the room, all of whom agreed with 
the above evidence. 



School Eoom, Durgan, Saturday, 16th September 1876. 



Decrease. 

LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 
Gaxige. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 



Spatvning. 

Garige 

Bait. 
LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Joseph Tresize (examined by Mr. Walpole). Is 65 years of age. Has been 
fishing 30 years, and has fished for crabs all that time. Nine or ten boats go 
out crabbing together. This is about the' same number as when he began. Crabs 
are not so thick now as they used to be. There are more boats after the crabs 
than there were 30 years ago, and he thinks there are too many boats fishing, 
and that crabs are over-fished. Lobsters are getting scarce also. Does not know 
what could be done unless the fishing were stopped altogether. It would be a 
good thing to put back all small lobsters. Messrs. Scovell, from Hamble, 
will not take any he crabs under 6 inches, nor females under 5 inches. He 
sends the small crabs to London. Thinks it would be right to stop the 
capture of she crabs under 5 inches, and he crabs under 6 inches. Would like 
this scale enforced. Merchants will take lobsters of any size. It would be a 
good plan to leave the small lobsters to grow. Cannot fix any size. Thinks 
it would be a good plan to throw back berried hens. It would be a loss, but 
he would consent to the loss if all others did the same. Believes all the 
Durgan fishermen throw back crabs in spawn, but many of them are taken. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Does not know when he sees most spawning crabs. 
Messrs. Scovell buy berried hens, and any other lobsters he can get. Has 
caught a lobster weighing 13 lbs. Could not send fish to London if it were 
not for the railway. Can sell as much as he can catch. Always throws away 
spawning crabs. 

James James. Has lived at Durgan 21 or 22 years, and has fished for crabs 
all the time. There are fewer crabs than there were 20 years ago ; lobsters 
also are scarcer. Fish are about the same size as formerly. Cannot say why 
crabs are scarcer. When he went fishing 20 years ago he caught three times 
as many as he can catch now. Thinks all male crabs under 6 inches, and 
female under 5 inches, should be put back into the sea. This should be done 
to enable them to grow. He crabs are large crabs, but there are not so many 
of them as there used to be. They are mostly caught outside the bay. The 
pots set first are taken in in July on account of the trawlers. Uses thornbacks, 
bibs, and other fish for bait. Never uses young crabs for bait, only spider 
crabs. Never smashes up edible crabs. Never returns any lobsters to the 
sea, and does not catch more than one or two lobsters under 5 inches. The 
average size is from 9 to 11 inches. Catches very few under 9 inches. It 
would be no hardship to put back lobsters under 8| inches. Catches about 
100 lobsters in a season. One in ten might be under 8| inches. Does not see 
that anything can be done but to put back any "seed" crabs, which the 
fishermen do now. 

Henry Pascoe. Has been fishing 20 years, and crabbing every summer 
during that time. Crabs and lobsters are decreasing : they are over-fished. 
Would agree to throw back all he crabs under 6 inches, and she crabs under 



13 

5^ inches, and lobsters under 8-1 inches. This would be better for the fishermen Pilchard fish- 
in the long run. The drift nets prevent crab fishing in the busy parts of the m(J - 
season. Thinks this is very hard. Has heard old fishermen say that there 
was a law to keep pilchard drift nets off the land. One man lost 30 crab pots 
through the pilchard nets in one day. The fishermen go lour miles further 
from shore for crabs than they used to. 

William Retallack. Has been crabbing 30 years. There are not a CRABS, 
quarter so many crabs as there were 30 years ago. He used to get 27 or 28 _ 
crabs a day, and now only gets three or four. In 1851 he got 26 a day. Four 
or five crabs a day now is a good catch with the same number of pots out as 
formerly. Believes the falling off is due to the capture of so many small he 
and she crabs under 5 inches. All under that size should be thrown back. Gauge. 
Male crabs are the largest; females do not run so large. Lobsters have not 
failed so much as the crabs. There are not more boats in Durgan than there 
used to be, but there are three times as many in Porthalla. There are eight Boais - 
or nine boats there now, and there used to be only three. The crabs are being 
fished out. About 30 to 40 pots go to each boat, and there are 300 pots from 
Durgan. If he had to make a law he would enforce the throwing back of all Berried. 
small crabs and all crabs in spawn ; would throw away the berried hens at any 
time of the year. In a month's time they would cast their spawn, and might 
then be sold. The fishermen ought to consent to this. Thinks they would. 
They make as much of a " shotten " lobster as a berried one. Does not know 
the opinion of the fishermen at Porthalla. 

Most lobsters are nicked, not plugged. If they are plugged the people will 
not buy them. 



Guildhall, Penzance, Monday, 18th September 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Thomas Cornish, solicitor, Penzance. Has owned crab pots for more 
than 20 years. The crabbing stations about Mount's Bay are: — 1. Muliion, 
2. Porthleven. 3. Prussia Cove. 4. Penberth. 5. Porthgwarra. 6. Sen- 
nen Cove. All these are fisheries for crabs and lobsters. His experience is 
that the fish have not fallen off in numbers, but the grounds inshore have been 
fished out, and the men have had to go to deeper water. On the eastern 
side of Mount's Bay, he thinks, a limit should be placed on the size of a 
saleable crab, say 5 or 5^ inches. Would be glad to see a total prohibition of 
she crabs. They are no good ; it is a waste to catch them. Lobsters and cray- 
fish are seldom caught at Penzance under 9 inches. The crab pots would not Gauge. 
catch them much smaller than that. There is an enforced close time in 
Mount's Bay in July and August, when the drift nets for pilchards drive in the 
crab fishers. Does not think a close season important at the Land's End Pilchard fish- 
because the fisheries are so deep and so extensive. Would like to see berried mff ' 
hens all thrown back into the sea. Has had very little experience of crabs 
in spawn. More females than males are caught. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) It would be a serious loss to prohibit the capture of LOBSTERS. 

berried hens 5 but in the end it would replenish the fishery. This should be 

enforced throughout the year. Not a large proportion of lobsters in the spring 
are berried ; but berried hens are caught all through the summer. Is aware Berried. 
of the large demand for berried hens in London. It would be extremely 
difficult for fishermen to remove the berries. It would be possible to dis- 
tinguish between a lobster that had shed its berries naturally and one from 
which the berries had been removed artificially. 

Crabs are fetched away by the trading smacks. The minimum size for CRABS, 
crabs, under the Norfolk Crab and Lobster Fisheries Act, is 4^ inches. Pro- G — 
poses 5£ inches as a minimum gauge. Crabs under that size are not accepted 
by the trading smacks, and then they are taken as "quarter fish," four 
counting as one. The prohibition of unsizeable fish should be universal. It 



14 



CRABS. 

Meat in. 



LOBSTERS. 
Gauge. 

Migration. 



Bait. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 

Berried. 



Price. 

Migration. 

Gauge. 

Close time. 
Migration. 

LOBSTERS. 

Spatoning. 



Plugging. 
CRABS. 



Berried. 



will be of no use to have such a law unless it is applicable to the great 
markets. Has tested the meat in a crab of 4| inches. In the claws and legs 
the meat, exclusive of the cream in the body, weighs 1^ oz. Thinks the 
Norfolk Act should be repealed, and the sale of all crabs under 5| inches 
throughout the country should be prohibited. A crab of b\ inches would 
give 4| oz. of meat. 

The Falmouth measure for lobsters might be taken, viz.. 8| inches. A 
lobster of 8 inches would get through the pots, the bars of which are 2 inches 
apart. 

[By Mr. Buchland.) The crab and lobster fishery ceases from the middle of 
August to the middle of March, when they are migrating. Crabs must be 
rock breeders. Thinks there are no data for testing the age of a crab of 5| 
inches, nor of lobsters of 8 inches. The crab pots are shot in rocky ground. 
Fresh bait is better than stinking bait. Crab pots are shot in strings. A 
practical fisherman would be able to say how far they are from each other. 
Spider crabs are used for bait. Little edible crabs are not used for bait. Has 
seen a crab weighing over 12 lbs. It is necessary to have legislation to enforce 
the return to the sea of all he crabs under 5| inches, of all berried hens, and of 
all hen crabs. The loss would be compensated in the end. 

John Symons, Land's End. His observation leads him to recommend 
that small she crabs should be returned to the sea. They were used 30 years 
ago for bait. Now London fishmongers give 2c?. or 3d. each for them. The 
fishery for Crustacea is falling off. By careful preservation and a close season 
the fishermen may lose in one year and gain in ten years. Cray-fish come in 
shoals. Crabs return to the place where they are bred. Lobsters do the same. 
Thinks some portions of the ground from St. Levans to the Land's End have 
been over-fished. The result is that fishermen have not done so well for the 
last three years. The Sennen Cove fishermen go from home to Scilly and to 
Padstow to fish. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Proposes to prohibit the capture of all she crabs under 5 
inches, but to allow the capture of he crabs of any size, just as a gentleman 
kills the cock pheasants and spares the hens. There is no machinery for 
enforcing the law among the fishermen. The best way is to enforce it against 
the salesmen. Does not know whether he could detect fishermen breaking up 
unsizeable crabs for bait. Would propose a close time for crabs from the 
1 st September to 28th February. There are not many crabs now caught from 
September to December, and only a few from January to February. 

On the 9th May 1876 crabs and lobsters came in in good quantities. On 
the 16th they came in in nice quantities. On the 31st he had three dozen, 
very fine fish. On the 2nd June he had two dozen and four. On the 
8th June one and a half dozen. On the 12th June two and a half dozen. 
On the 15th June one dozen and a score. A dozen lobsters is 13. 26 half 
crabs make a dozen. 

This was the catch of a boat from Sennen Cove to Padstow. The gross pro- 
duce of the boat was 811. in 21 weeks. It would be a benefit to the fishermen 
to close from 1st September to 28th February. 

Some fishermen say lobsters are continually spawning. Wishes to give no 
recommendation on the point. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The fish from the Land's End go to Birmingham, 
Leamington, and (principally) London. The railway has had the effect of 
increasing the demand. The crab fisheries are of considerable value, and 
might be increased in value. 22 boats are engaged here. The fishermen send 
crabs to London alive. The London salesmen will not receive crabs unless 
they are alive. The claws of lobsters are invariably plugged or cut, the rule 
being to cut them. Plugging them is quite superseded by cutting, which acts 
better. 

Stephen Harvey James. Lives near Penberth. Has known the fisheries 
there for 20 years. Is sure the fish are falling off, especially in size. It is a 
difficult thing to get a good crab. The West Cornwall Railway was built in 
1859. 20 years ago the fishermen commenced sending crabs to Hayle and 
Bristol by sea. The extra demand and the practice of killing the she crabs 
have been the cause of the decline. Many thousand she crabs are caught 
every year. The eggs do not come on till July or August, and then the she 
crabs are at their best. Has an impression that the fishery is over- worked. 



15 

The fishermen catch so many small crabs that large ones are not allowed to 
grow. There is a ready demand for small crabs, which sell at 2d. each. The 
fishery at Penberth used to be very small. 

Henry Blackwell. Is proprietor of the Queen's Hotel. Sees very few 
crabs or lobsters ; a few females and very few males are brought about. 
They are very small, and quite useless for use at the hotel. This has been the 
case ever since the railway was opened to London in 1859. Has only bought one Railways. 
crab for two years, and that was smuggled. Has often asked for crabs. 
Large crabs are not hawked about as they used to be. Has had lobsters of a 
certain size up to this year ; but this year has not had them. They are very 
small, not larger than that {pointing to an S-inch lobster on the table) and 
ought not to be taken. 

William Henry Rodd. Is Mayor of Penzance. The crab and lobster Pilchard fish- 
fishermen complain that they are not sufficiently protected from the drift in &- 
nets, and that therefore they have not sufficient opportunity for taking crabs 
and lobsters. He is speaking of the ground 9 miles out to sea. Agrees with 
the evidence already given as to a minimum size and close season for crabs 
and lobsters. 

Stephen Harvey James (recalled). Has trouble to get crabs and lobsters 
from his own cottagers. The wholesale fishermen take all or none. 

Stephen Bond. Lives at Sennen. Has been a crab and lobster fisher for 
50 years. 50 years ago there were five to eight boats at Sennen. 40 years Boats. 
ago there were no boats. They were all given up, because the price was low 
and fish were scarce. The steamer for taking the fish to Bristol was started 
more than 30 years ago. Before that, Mr. Scovell was the only buyer. 

In Mr. Scovell' s time he used to sell him fish at 8s. a dozen of 13. Two cray- 
fish counted as one lobster. Lobsters under 11 inches long counted two fish. Mode of count- 
Crabs under 7 inches counted four for one. Crabs above 7 inches and under ing. 
11 counted two for one. These measurements are retained now. The 
steamer caused the price to rise to 10s. a dozen, and now they have risen to 20s. 
a dozen for cray fish, to 15s. a dozen for lobsters and crabs ; and hen crabs are 
sold at 2c?. each. There are now 22 boats fishing at Sennen. The number of 
pots was quite as great 50 years ago as at the present time. 50 years ago the CRABS. 

average catch was one fish to every two pots ; and the average now is much 

the same. There always was and still is a difference in the seasons ; some No decrease. 
being good, others bad. The average take per boat is not much worse now 
than it was 50 years ago. Fishermen are earning better wages than they were 
50 years ago. He has not much to complain of. They sell no crabs under 
5 inches. If they are in want of bait, they use crabs j if not, they throw the 
small ones overboard. They mostly want crabs as bait. They use crabs as bait Used for bait. 
for wrasse, and wrasse as bait for crabs. Even if a law were made restricting 
the capture of unsizeable crabs, small crabs would be broken up for bait. Some- 
times the fishermen are short of bait and are obliged to use small crabs. 
They use trammels to catch bait. Not many crabs are caught in the trammels. 
They break them up before they are taken out of the net, if they are caught, 
and use them for bait. Does not think a close time for crabs necessary. 

Could remove the berries from a berried lobster. Could keep the lobster LOBSTERS, 
till she got rid of the berries herself. Has put lobsters in a store pot without ^ —— 
berries, and found them full of berries in three weeks. Does not think much ore P° • 
of a law which would prohibit the capture of berried lobsters. Cannot catch 
lobsters under 8-§ inches long. Does not want any law, and is in favour of 
free trade in fishing. Is ready to supply Mr. Blackwell if he will give him 
his price and take all his catch. Cannot sell him one or two picked fish. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) If he wants bait he must have it, whether it is small 
crabs or not. If a law were made to throw back berried hens, many fishermen Berried. 
would not go to sea fishing for lobsters. Could not keep berried hens in pots 
in bad weather. The sea would dash the pots to pieces. Crabs and lobsters, 
some years ago, came to a certain ground near the Longships, and were as 
thick as possible, even when the fishermen left off fishing in September. Migration. 
When the fishermen went back in March and April to look for them they 
were all gone. 

Thomas Jackson, of Porthgwarra. Is a fisherman. Has fished for crabs, 
lobsters, and cray-fish for 35 years. The fishery has decreased during the last 
two years, so far as good fish are concerned. She crabs are as plentiful as ever. 
40353. E 



16 



CRABS. 

Enemies. 



Migration. 

CRAY-FISH. 

Migration. 

CRABS. 



Food. 



Boats. 



Weather. 



Increase. 



Boats. 



Season/or. 



Migration. 
LOBSTERS. 

Spawning. 



Berried. 
Enemies. 



A little insect, of the shrimp tribe, appeared near the Logan Rock 12 years ago. 
Thinks this insect ate all the bait from the pots, and drove the crabs away. 
Does not know the name of the insect. He crabs were never thicker than they 
were in the month of April, 1873 — three years ago. A heavy storm came on 
and all the he crabs disappeared. Has never caught large crabs in any 
quantity since. During the easterly winds crabs are always inferior, and no 
big crabs are to be caught. Lobsters are not affected. Does not believe in the 
fish having been fished out. Has been to the Wolf Rock, nine miles south, 
where the ground is seldom fished. Has been there sometimes, and left lots of 
fish, and found none on returning the next year. Went there again this year, 
and shot 24 pots, but only got two cray-fish and one lobster. Where the 
ground is most fished there are generally as good fish to be had as anywhere. 
In some parts of the sea, from Runnel Stone to Scilly, good lobsters and cray- 
fish are to be caught, larger than elsewhere. The cray-fish are sometimes 
plentiful, and sometimes scarce. This year there are very few. Has seen old 
fishermen who say they come in shoals. Crabs at his station are more than 
5§ inches across the back. None are sent to market smaller than this. It is 
very rare to get so small a crab on the Irish and Scotch coasts as on the East 
coast of England. A law prohibiting the capture of 5§ inch crabs would 
destroy the fishery on the East coast. Lobsters on this coast are also large, 
13 inches and upwards. The tide runs at Porthgwarra at the rate of six miles 
an hour. The bottom is rocky. Thinks crabs and lobsters live chiefly on 
shells, whelks, &c. The feeding ground is very good. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) When he first began fishing he fished at Penberth. The 
Porthgwarra boats have increased, and there are six boats now while there 
were only one or two that he can recollect formerly. The average take per boat 
has been as good as ever, up to the last three seasons, and that^notwithstanding 
the increased number of boats. The price has risen two thirds, and the Porth- 
gwarra men are making better wages. They go further off the land to seek after 
fish. Their forefathers did not go so far out. The insects referred to did not 
appear before 12 years ago. Wherever they were found they drove away the 
fish. They are now decreasing again. The storm which occurred in 1873 
was very bad for that time of year, and crabs have disappeared ever since. The 
pots were in 35 fathoms of water. Crabs will not move when a storm is 
coming on. Crabs under 5| inches are not used. A few may be caught. 
The larger ones are used for bait, the smaller ones are not good enough for 
this purpose. Old she crabs are used for bait. 

Richard Rowe, Porthgwarra. Has been a fisherman for 24 years. Has 
fished at Porthgwarra all that time. When he began he was with his father, 
and had the only boat in the place. Has spoken to a man 70 years old who 
said that more fish are caught now than when he was a boy. He used to put 
the week's take in store pots from Monday to Thursday. Used to catch 500 
or 600 he and she crabs, and 10 or 12 lobsters in a week, and send them to 
Bristol. This was an an average take. An average week's take now is 1,200 
crabs, male and female, and perhaps 20 lobsters. There are now six boats. 
24 years ago there were from 40 to 50 pots in his father's boat. Between 50 
and 60 pots are carried in a boat now. Works harder than he did 24 years 
ago, and goes further out to sea. Believes one boat working same number of 
hours as they worked 24 years ago, and confined to the same ground could 
catch more crabs than his father's boat did then. 

Begins fishing in March, looking for cock crabs. The cold in the spring 
keeps back the hen crabs. When the warm weather comes he looks for hen 
crabs and catches fewer cocks. After the hen crabs get scarcer in August and 
September, he looks out for cray-fish. 

Catches spawning lobsters from one end of the season to the other. Pots 
are kept out all the year round. 

A law making crabs under 5| inches unsizeable might deprive the fishermen 
of a few hen crabs. White crabs are not fit to eat. The Billingsgate salesmen 
return them. They are so thick it is not necessary to have a law to prevent 
their capture. Other fish eat the soft crabs. Cannot afford to break up 
edible crabs for bait. They are all sent to market. 

If it were illegal to kill berried hens, gentlemen would suffer and fishermen 
too. Thinks the natural destruction of young shell fish by skate and cod is 
ten times greater than that caused by fishermen. Skate and cod are some- 



17 

times full of small crabs. The Porthgwarra fishery is very flourishing and it CRABS, 
is not possible to improve it by legislation. ' — 

{By Mr. Buckland.) The minimum size of 5| inches might deprive the 
fishermen of some hen crabs which are good to eat. White crabs are those 
that have shot their shells. There are not many octopus here. Cannot say Growth. 
how often a crab sheds its shell. Has seen oysters on the shell of a crab. 
The southern limit of the Porthgwarra fishery is 9 miles south. 

Henry Jones, Penberth. Commenced crabbing 40 years back. Cannot 
say whether crabs and lobsters have increased. Does not catch so many as he 
did 10 or 5 years ago, or last year. There are more to be caught this year than 
there were 40 years ago. At that time there were five or six boats at Penberth, 
and they used to go every Monday to Mousehole for bait. The fishermen Bait. 
used to buy skate from the Mousehole people. He went on for a year or two 
like this and then went to sea. Returned to fishing 14 or 15 years ago, and 
found the system of buying bait at Mousehole had been done, away with, and 
that the fishermen depended on spider crabs, and that they baited wrasse 
pots and lines with them and so got their own bait, which was much better. 
Would not object to a 5^-inch gauge for crabs. Merchants cannot keep the 
trade with smaller crabs. It does not pay to send away smaller crabs. He had 
Is. for a hundred little crabs. 

Lobsters are not so thick as they used to be, nor are they so large. Does LOBSTERS, 
not think this is due to over-fishing. Crabs this year are thicker than ever. — 

Does not want any legislation at all. The fishery depends on the weather and 1>ecrease - 
the supply of bait. Hot weather is necessary for good crab fishing. Crabs will CRABS. 

foretell the weather 24 hours beforehand. Small crabs are very often broken 

up for bait, and the practice cannot be stopped unless a policeman goes out in Weather. 

every boat. It takes longer to catch bait than to haul all the pots up. He 

catches his own bait in a trammel net. Is obliged to stop fishing in the 

autumn (September) through stress of weather. This year his craft was cut Pilchard fish- 

off by the Mount's Bay fishing boats. This happened two months ago. ing. 

Fishes in 30 to 35 fathoms of water. Catches most crabs at night. Thinks 

cray-fish are falling off. CRAYFISH. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) The crabs are not so thick as they were ten years ago, Decrease. 
but the she crabs are as thick, or thicker. Cannot account for this, unless the CRABS 
cock crabs resort to different ground. It is a question whether trawlers do not — 

catch crabs outside. Thinks cock crabs come in earlier than she crabs.' Migration. 

Captain Henry Richards, Prussia Cove. Has been a fisherman for 
50 years, generally at Prussia Cove, but has fished all round the North Channel. Boats 
50 years ago there were two boats from Porthleven, which used to come every 
year to Prussia Cove ; and three boats at Prussia Cove. There are now nine 
boats. They fish with three strings of pots, and 15 pots in a string. The 
pots are put in a string about 40 fathoms apart. The method is just the same 
now at Prussia Cove. At the Land's End the pots are 15 fathoms apart. 
Fishes the same ground as he used to fish. The fish are not a quarter so thick Decrease. 
as they were formerly, unless you go a long way off. Thinks crabs and lobsters 
are over-fished. Cray-fish have not come in in such numbers as they used to. CRAY-FISH. 
When he began fishing 50 years ago he could take a dozen fish a day, i.e., a j) ecre ^ 
dozen of 13, and the usual description of fish. Only had eight pots to a string 
then. Now an average catch would not be half-a-dozen a day. For three or four 
weeks he went out 8 or 10 miles, and found the fish as thick as ever. Thinks 
in a few years the fish outside will all be caught too. The Porthleven boats, Boats. 
when he was a boy, were only 16 feet long. Now they are 22 feet long 
because they have to go further out to sea. Many a time, when a boy, he 
caught 3s. worth of crabs in an hour, and nowadays boys cannot catch 3c?. 
worth a day. LOBSTERS. 

Recommends that all spawning fish should be returned to the water. Has <$ mw ring. 
known them to spawn in his store pots and in the wells of the smacks. Three 
years ago the smacks did not come for 10 weeks, and the crabs were stored for Smacks. 
that length of time. When they were taken out they were found to be full of 
spawn, though they were not in spawn when they were put in. All spawn 
crabs and all berried hens should be kept until the spawn is shot, or else store pots. 
returned to the water. Thinks they should not be sold when in spawn. The 
fish might be kept in floating cruives. The young lobsters could have no 
difficulty in getting out of the cruives. Buyers prefer berried hens. A 

e 2 



18 



LOBSTERS. 



CRABS. 



Store pots. 



Spaioning. 



shotten lobster is not so good as a berried one, and if the shotten lobsters only 
were eaten they would not be so good. 

Would rather have small she crabs than big ones. Always throws overboard 
small she crabs. Uses trammel nets for bait ; catches crabs in the trammels, 
and sometimes takes them out and sometimes kills them. 

(Examined by Mr. Buckland.) Lobsters and crabs are all put into cruives. 
The cruives are 9 feet long by 3 feet wide by 18 inches high, and divided into 
three compartments to separate the fish and prevent them from fighting. A 
crab is the king of the sea. A she crab will spawn in November. Has found 
them, after being in a cruive 10 weeks, full of spawn. A lobster after she has 
shot her spawn is not in good condition. 

Stephen Bond {recalled). The crabs are in spawn in February and March, 
and not in November. 

John Kelynack. Lives at Newlyn. Is about 80 years old. Never in his 
life caught crabs and lobsters. Has heard old men talk of the fishing, and 
agrees with the evidence offered by Captain Richards. There are very few crab 
pots at Newlyn. 



No decrease. 



Used for bait. 



No decrease. 



Casting their 
shell. 



LOBSTERS. 

Season for. 

Increase. 



Sennen, Monday, 18th September 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Richard Nicholas. Has been a crab fisher for 40 years. Crabs and lobsters 
are no scarcer than they were. Fish are no scarcer. The price is better, and 
the fishermen get more money. She-crabs have been thicker the last two years 
than ever. Fishes from the Longships to 3 miles eastwards. Catches crabs 
of 4 and 5 inches. Merchants will not buy crabs under 5 inches. Uses 10 or 
20 crabs under 5 inches in a day for bait, and those that are not used for bait 
are thrown overboard. There are 22 boats here now. 40 years ago there were 
just as many. Would be very sorry to hear of anything to be done to inter- 
fere with the fishery. They want to be left alone. 

John George. Has been here 20 years. Crabs and lobsters are just the 
same as ever. They fetch a better price, and the fishermen make more money. 
They are sent away by rail from Penzance. Merchants will not take crabs 
under 5 inches. Thinks crabs shoot their shells once a year. Has found them 
every year in a certain hole with their shells off in March and April. The 
fishing ground extends from off the Land's End to Cape Cornwall, 4 miles 
eastwards, and 3 miles seawards. Two lobsters under 1 1 inches go for one 
The largest lobster he ever saw was 13 lbs. The men do not fish here till 
April, and leave off in August. Does not want any interference with the 
fishery, but desires to be left alone. 

William George. Agrees with his brother (the last witness). There are 
more crabs and lobsters than ever. The railway has done good for the fisher- 
men. The fishermen continually shift their ground. It would make no differ- 
ence to put back berried hens. 



N.B. — There are between 60 and 70 fishermen at Sennen 
present at the meeting, and agreed with the above evidence. 



about 30 were 



Boats. 



Cadgwith, Tuesday, 19th September 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole, Esquire. 

Edward Rutter. Is coxwain of the lifeboat. Has been crabbing 20 
years. When he began there were about five boats, now there are 10 boats. 
The fishermen fish on much the same ground as they used to, but go a little 
further out. The ground extends on both sides of the Lizard, 4 miles west, 



19 

and 4 miles east, and 4 miles south. The fishermen go beyond Kynance Cove LOBSTERS. 

on the west and Innis Head on the east. 20 years ago the average take per , , , ~T~ ) +. 

boat was 20 fish. The method of counting was, lobsters over 1 1 inches counted i ng , 

as one ; two crabs over 8 inches counted as one ; two lobsters under 

11 inches counted as one; four crabs under 8 inches counted as one. A fair 

average no\v-a-days would be about 14 fish, counting lobsters over 

11 inches as one fish, two lobsters under 11 inches as one; crabs under 

8 inches as one fish; and two crabs under 8 inches as one fish. Fewer fish 

are caught in each boat now, but the whole number of boats catch more in the 

aggregate. The price now is Is. a fish, and it has been is. 2d. Sells his fish Price. 

to Mr. Locke, of Southampton. The price when he began was 10s. a dozen 

of 26. Some seasons the crabs are very scarce, and sometimes they are very 

plentiful. There have been some years when even spider crabs were scarce, and 

hardly one could be caught in a day. Now they are very plentiful again. 

There are hardly so many fish in the ground now as there were 20 years ago. 

Thinks the scarcity is due to over-fishing. Lobsters are in about the same No decrease. 

quantity as they were 20 years ago. Thinks spawn crabs ought to be thrown CRABS. 

back to the sea. If spawn crabs are caught, it is in March and April. There - — 

are very few of them, and to throw them back would make very little s v awmn 3- 

difference. Would have no objection to throw back all small crabs. The Gauge. 

gauge proposed by the fishermen of St. Mawes, viz., 6 inches, would be too 

large. In Falmouth Bay the crabs are less plentiful than at the Lizard, but 

they are larger. 5 inches would be quite large enough for he crabs, and 

4 inches for she crabs, at the Lizard. Thinks there is no falling off in she 

crabs. Does not think it necessary to have any gauge for lobsters. 

The fishing begins in the middle of March or April, and ends about 20th 
September. The rest of the year is a natural close season. The fishermen 
break up crabs for bait from Midsummer to the end of the season. Very Used for bait. 
black ones and soft ones are broken up when bait is scarce. Uses trammel 
nets for catching bait, and catches crabs in them, but the crabs are not smashed 
up. Small crabs would not be broken up for bait. Gets a third of his 
living with his trammel net, and one third of the shell fish are taken in 
the trammel. A good many cray-fish are caught on the coast. They come CRAY-FISH, 
and go. ~ 

Anthony Jane. Has been fishing 43 years. There were six or seven boats 
at Cadgwith and five at the Lizard 43 years ago. There are ten boats here 
now, and two at the Lizard. Thinks the crabs are more plentiful than they Boats. 
were. This last year has been a decent year. A little rough weather is good 
for the crabs; smooth water and warmth is good for the cray-fish. Thinks 
each boat gets as much as they did 43 years ago. The price is better and the LOBSTERS, 
earnings are greater. Lobsters are just as thick as ever. Is very well satisfied - — 

with the fishery. Has heard Mr. Rutter's evidence about a minimum size ° ecrease - 
for crabs, and thinks it would be a good thing to have a law to save he crabs CRABS, 
of 5 inches and she crabs of 4 inches. Cannot say whether a she crab of 4 „ 
inches has spawned. Has only seen one or two spawn crabs, and thinks a crab 
of 4 inches may have spawned. Does not think it necessary to have a mini- Spawning. ' 
mum size for lobsters. Rarely catches lobsters under 8 inches, and does not 
keep them when he does. A law of size for crabs would not hurt the fishermen 
and might do them good in the end. If he could not use trammels it would 
be of no use to go on with the business. Has broken up as many as 20 or 30 
crabs for bait in a day ; but does not now break up so many in a season. 
There are 40 to 50 trammels in Cadgwith. 

Frederick Stephens. Has been fishing 28 years at Cadgwith. Thinks No decrease. 
there is very little difference in the number of crabs. They vary in different 
seasons. He fishes on the same ground as formerly. Lobsters are the same 
as .crabs. Seasons vary. There is nothing the matter with the fishery. The 
average number of pots to a boat is about 40. Six strings to a boat, and _g oa ^ # 
six or seven pots in a string. The pots are set about 10 or 15 fathoms apart. 
Would like to have unsizeable crabs returned to the water. Thinks the size 
should be about 5 inches for he crabs and about 4 inches for she crabs. Gauge. 
Thinks, however, that a law prohibiting the capture of any crabs under 5 
inches, male or female, would do no harm. The law must apply to buyer, 
seller, and catcher. If people did not purchase small crabs no one would 
sell them. Lobsters are not decreasing. Does not catch so many small 



20 



LOBSTERS. 

No decrease. 
Store Pots. 

CRAY-FISH. 

Migration. 

CRIBS. 

Gauge. 



Price. 
Pots. 



Price. 



lobsters, and scarcely ever sees one so small as 6 or 7 inches. It is not 
necessary to have a gauge for lobsters. Very few berried hens are caught ; 
but they are found all through the year. Cannot say whether it would be a 
loss to throw back all berried hens. Keeps his fish in store pots, not in 
cruives, and keeps them there a week or nine days. The smack ought to 
come every nine days. All the fish go away by sea. 

The cray -fish are migratory and vary in number from season to season. Has 
caught 50 or 60 a day, in some years, and in others not more than 12. Gets 
the same price for cray-fish as for crabs. Is very well satisfied with the state 
of the fishery. 

James Mitchell. Has been fishing about 10 years. Agrees with what has 
been said by previous witnesses. Thinks that it would do no harm if she crabs 
under 4^ inches, and lobsters under 7 inches were thrown back to the sea. Does 
not catch on an average one 7-inch lobster in the season. Fancies fish were more 
plentiful than they are now. Goes further out to sea now, and gets as much 
money, but does not get quite so many fish. If prices had remained the same as 
they used to be it would not pay to follow the fishery. When he was a buyer he 
gave 13s. a dozen of 26, now the price is on an average 30s. per dozen. Thinks 
8^ inches would be too large a gauge for lobsters ; but catches very few so 
small as that. The pots are made hollow, and are 2 inches from rib to rib ; 
they fish better this size than when made closer. The fishermen make the 
pots themselves, and they cost about 24s. a dozen. The best quality of crabs 
are those which are caught in trammel nets. 

Anthony Jane {recalled). When he fished first he sold his fish for 8s. a 
dozen. The rise in price has done good. The lobsters from the Lizard ground 
are one-third heavier than those in Falmouth Bay, but crabs are smaller. 

Edward Rutter {recalled). The Coverack fishermen come down here to 
the Cadgwith ground. But there is a ground from Coverack to the Manacles. 
This ground is better than the Cadgwith ground. The crabs there are better 
but scarcer than at Cadgwith. The Mullion men have been doing less fishing 
The weather has been bad. The Cadgwith ground joins the Mullion ground. 
The crabs from the Manacles are best, the Lizard crabs come next, and the 
Mount's Bay crabs come last. There are four boats fishing at Mullion ; they 
are more exposed to the weather than the Cadgwith boats. 



The Ship Hotel, East Looe, Wednesday, 
20th September 1876. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 



LOBSTERS. 
Spawning. 
Migration. 

CRAY-PISH. 



Decrease. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Richard Little. Is 50 years of age. Has been fishing for crabs and lobsters 
for 20 years. Crabs and lobsters have diminished considerably. 20 years ago 
there were six or eight crabbers, and now there are 20. Recommends that all 
crabs under 5 inches should be thrown back, in order to preserve the fishery. 
Fishing goes on all the year round, and the season should be shortened. The 
fishing time should be from 1st March to the end of August. This would 
allow time for crabs to breed and for the little ones to grow. Lobsters would 
also be increased in numbers. Lobsters are caught full of spawn in March, 
April, and May. After this they disappear. About June they fall off. They 
are caught again in August, when they are " hollow," and looking for food, 
and go into the crab pots in search of food. 

The smallest lobster he ever saw was 5 inches long. Catches hundreds of 
prawns but no small lobsters. The cray-fish are all gone. The smallest cray- 
fish are 1\ inches long. 

10 years ago the pots used to catch in one morning more cray-fish than 
they do now in the whole season. 



21 

The 5-inch gauge should be applied equally to he and she crabs. The LOBSTERS, 
smallest lobsters are 5 inches long, but not many are caught now. The Gauge. 
average size is 8 inches. All lobsters under 6 inches in length should be put 
back. If all the berried hens were put back the fishery would not be worth 
attending to. There arc 40 men using 20 boats. The average number of pots 
carried is three dozen to a boat, or 720 pots in all. The fishing ground is 
about nine miles long and three miles wide. The depth of water from 1 to 22 
fathoms. 

The fishing begins in March and the fishermen fish as long as as they can. 

John Little. Has been crabbing 20 years. Crabs and lobsters are not 
so plentiful as they used to be. Crabs crawl according to the season. In spring 
the fishermen go further out to sea and catch lobsters. The ground at Looe 
has not been so much fished because of the driving boats, which begin fishing 
in July and go on till September. Lobsters are then in deep water and are Migration. 
protected by the drift nets. 

n Buns " or " queens " or " she '■' crabs should be put back to the water if CRABS, 
under 5 inches long. Many crabs run as small as 4 inches. " Sheer " or sick G f ' 
crabs should always be returned to the sea. The fishermen very often break Soft! 6 ' 
up small : crabs for bait. If the weather is hot in May no lobsters can be 
caught ; if it is cool three or four dozen may be caught in a day. 

In a month or two the hollow hens come. Little lobsters would go through LOBSTERS, 
the bars of the pots, just like shrimps. 

Always tries to keep a stock of bait. Generally keeps gurnards pickled in 
brine. It is necessary to keep the colours bright because lobsters seem to be Bait. 
attracted by colour. The lobster ground is very rocky. Pots are set in the 
"pills," i.e. hollows in the rocks. They are worth 20s. per dozen ; the lines are 
worth Is. each. Crabs live longer than the lobsters in stony ground. CRABS. 

Edward Pengelly. Has been crabbing for many years. Where there 

was one crab formerly there are ten now. The men who owned the smacks Increase ' 
used to get the profit, now the fishermen send away the crabs and lobsters 
direct. Formerly they sold them for 85. per dozen of 26, now they get 14s. 
per real dozen of 12. 

Crabs are fished for harder than they used to be on account of the increased 
price. The season begins in March and ends in July, Would propose that 
cock crabs of 5 inches and hen crabs of 4 or 4^ inches should be returned to Gauge. 
the water. 

John Medland. Has been 30 years crabbing. Begins fishing in February 
and keeps on as long as he can, sometimes to the end of September. The 
number of boats has increased from 5 to 20. Cannot say if crabs have Boats. 
diminished in number. 

Cock crabs under 5 inches and hens under 4 inches should be returned to Gauge. 
the water. Would not think such a law oppressive. If berried hens were 
returned to the sea they would be caught again as " hollows." Berried hens 
might be kept in pots and allowed to spawn there. Would like to have April Close Time 
and May a close time ; during those months crabs and lobsters would cast 
their spawn. Few small lobsters are caught. Seldom sees crabs in spawn ; if Spawning. 
any are seen it is in May. They bury themselves in the sand. 

Lobsters are not plugged here, their claws are cut or tied. 

William Prynne. Thinks the increased price paid for crabs and lobsters, 
is the cause of their falling off. All males and females under 5 inches should 
be returned to the water. Many small crabs are broken up and used as bait. Used for bait. 
They are used as bait to catch crabs. When the " hookers " knock off, bait is 
scarce, and then crabs are used. From July onwards bait is scarce because 
the fishermen are all gone pilchard fishing. Young # crabs are valuable as bait 
at certain times of the year. 

The natural close time for crabs and lobsters begins on 1st August. Young 
crabs are the best bait for wrasse, and wrasse are an excellent bait for lobsters. 

Common sense leads the fishermen to spare the small crabs at all times 
except when they are required as bait. The fishermen agree with him that 
when the hookers have done fishing bait is very scarce, and that under these 
circumstances it is absolutely necessary to break up small crabs to catch 
wrasse, which are used to catch lobsters. The Looe men have sufficient sense 
to return the small crabs at all other times of the year. 



22 



LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 
Enemies. 



Pots. 
Berried. 
.CRABS. 

Increase. 
Gauge. 



Berried. 

Gauge. 

Trawlers. 

Bait. 

Decrease. 
Gauge. 

Spawning. 



Casting their 
shell. 



LOBSTERS. 

Spawning. 
Berried. 

CRABS. 

Migration. 
Trawlers. 



Ship Inn, Polperro, Wednesday, 20th September 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Edwin Buckley. Has fished for crabs and lobsters for 30 years. There 
are seven boats now; 30 years ago there were four boats. Each boat carries on 
an average 100 pots. Crabs have not decreased so much as lobsters. Conger eels 
destroy the lobsters when they are small. The fishermen do not catch so many 
lobsters now as they did 20 years ago. There are more pots out than there 
were 20 years ago. At that time the usual thing was to have 8 strings, 8 pots 
to a string. Now there are 12 to 14 strings, and 8 pots to a string. The 
smallest lobster he ever saw was 3 inches long. The average length is from 
10 to 12 inches. Hundreds of lobsters have been caught during the last five 
years under 5 inches in length. All the fishermen agree that lobsters under 
6 inches long should be returned to the water. The fishermen would gladly 
do this. They might be allowed to get through the bars of the pots. The 
fishermen could not afford to put back the berried hens. Crabs have increased 
during the last 10 years. Has always thrown overboard spawning crabs. 
Would like to have a law to enforce this. "Buns " or hens under A\ inches 
should be thrown overboard, and cocks under 5 inches should be thrown back. 

Richard Oliver. Has been a fisherman for 20 years, and has fished for 
crabs and lobsters, though not much. The ground begins at Looe Island, 
and is 6 miles long and 3 miles broad. There are 700 pots fishing there. 
Keeps out fishing as long as he can. Would not object to put back cock crabs 
under 5 inches, and hens under 4£ inches, and lobsters under 6 inches. This 
is the smallest lobster. 

Berried lobsters shouldbe sent to market ; but berried crabs should be returned 
to the water. Sells his fish in Bath, Bristol, London, &c, and sends them 
away himself. When the smacks came here he used to get 12s. per dozen 
of 26, now he sells them by the barrel. The largest are 10 or 12 inches ; the 
smallest are very small. 

William Buckley. Agrees to a gauge of 5 inches for male crabs, A\ inches 
for females, and 6 inches for lobsters. Fishes further out at sea, in deeper 
water than he did formerly. Goes where the drift net fishermen do not go, out 
by a single rock, where there are any quantity of hen crabs. Trawlers injure 
the crab and lobster fishery. The trawls drag over the clear ground and catches 
both crabs and lobsters. They destroy the spawning ground. 

Skates and rays are used as bait. It is not customary to break up small 
crabs for bait, but " skerries" or spider crabs are used to catch wrasse. The 
fishermen would not break up small crabs for bait unless driven hard, as it is 
against their interest to do so. 

Charles Joliffe. Has bought crabs for the last five or six years, except 
last year. Since the well boats left off coming, the price has more than 
doubled. Large crabs are not so plentiful as they used to be. Twice as many 
small crabs are caught here as used to be caught. Has bought scores under 
4 inches long. Agrees to the proposed gauge of A\ inches for female crabs, 
and 5 inches for male crabs, and 6 inches for lobsters. As a merchant he 
would like to have the ideas of the fisherman carried out. 

E. Laughrin. Coastguard officer. Crabs spawn when 3 inches across 
the back ; they are then 6 months old. If you take away the male from the 
female another will come. Has seen edible crabs the size of a pin's head. 
They spawn in the spring and fall of the year. Large crabs shed their shell 
twice a year; small ones every four or five months. The largest crabs weigh 
up to 14 and 16^ lbs. 

Lobsters spawn all the year round. The smaller lobsters of 3 or 4 inches in 
length go out through the pots. Young ones are found in the wells of carrying 
ships. Suggests that berried hens should be kept in pots till the berries are 
hatched out. 

Crabs go from place to place, and sometimes travel 10, 12, or 14 miles. Some 
crabs got out of a store pot, and he found them again over 7 miles out at sea 
in a few days. They like to get in shore to cast their shells. The trawlers 
have torn up the feeding grounds of the crabs and lobsters, which are the 
sand plains between the rocks. 



23 



Polruan, Wednesday, 20th September 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Joseph Climo. Has fished for crabs and lobsters for 20 years. Fish are 
very scarce now ; this year's take has been very bad. There has been a falling 
off for the last 10 years. During that time the number of boats has increased. Boats. 
Some boats fish for 10 months out of the 12. There are no more fish caught, 
though more men fishing. Little time is left to the fish to grow or breed. 
Has purchased and sent to market thousands that ought not to have been 
caught. Some fishermen have returned the small male crabs to the sea. 
Trawling is very injurious, especially inshore. Thousands of she crabs are Trawling. 
taken by trawlers. Has seen very large females, weighing b\ lbs., brought CRABS, 

into Plymouth Barbican. Crabs spawn in January and February. Once he spawning. 
had been fishing in October, and had left some crabs in a store pot till after 
Christmas. In January every one was full of spawn. There were nine or ten 
crabs. Has never seen more than 10 crabs with spawn in the summer months. 
Crabs are very particular as to diet. They will not eat stale fish. The best Food. 
bait are cod, gurnards, ray, wrasse, plaice, and soles. The head of fish is 
generally put in the pots ; the eye of a dead fish attracts the crabs. Eight Bait. 
pots go to a " string." These pots are fished in from 7 to 25 fathoms water. 

In winter crabs bury themselves in the sand. In March and April many Bury themselves 
are caught with sand on their shells. As the summer advances they begin to 
crawl, and will nip one's fingers. In the winter they seem dead. Crabs have 
been marked and found in a week or more two miles east of the harbour after 
being ie nicked." When they are not nicked they can pinch with their claws. 
When they have been nicked they cannot pinch. There should be no distinction 
in the measure for males and females. She crabs do not grow so long in the 
shell as the males. Males under 5 inches and females under 4| inches should Gauge. 
be returned to the water. There are 20 females to one male. Females do not 
grow so large as the males. The close season should commence on 1st October Close time. 
and leave off on 1st March. Hundreds of boats go out on the 1st January 
and kill many spawning fish. The fishermen do not break up small crabs for 
bait, they can get 2d. each for small crabs. It is a rare thing for them to 
break up the small ones for bait. He gives 2d. apiece for them ; if they are very 
small three count as two. Watery crabs are broken up, when they are getting 
hard after casting their shell. Lobsters may be seen in spawn every month in LOBSTERS. 
the year, at least from March or April to the present time. Cannot determine Spawning. 
the exact time for the spawning of lobsters. Lobsters will eat any kind of 
bait, dried skate, stock fish, &c. They will take stinking bait. Crabs are quite lt ' 
the reverse. To catch them spider crabs or " corwichs " are used. If he 
gets a lobster with the berries ripe he takes them from the tail and throws them 
overboard. Berried hens are not selected ; they go together whether spawned Serried - 
or not. Thinks if the fishermen were compelled to return berried hens to the 
water they would take out all the spawn in such a manner that the operation 
would never be detected. This would be a very easy thing to do. Such a law 
would deprive the public of the lobsters, and the eggs would be lost. Some 
years ago the lobster smacks came for lobsters and one of them had four or 
five dozen in a cabbage net, and there were thousands of little lobsters an 
inch long in the well of the vessel. The mothers had not been there more 
than a week. The little lobsters might have come from a previous cargo. 
They were from half an inch to three quarters of an inch long. The fishermen 
say there are 40,320 eggs in a lobster. No lobsters should be taken under Eggs of. 
7 inches long ; they are seldom caught under 9 inches. He throws overboard Gauge. 
any he may catch below that size. 

Is. per lb. is the right price for lobsters. The fishery begins to the west of 
Udder Rock ; it does not extend east of that point. The western limit is one 
mile west of Gribbin Head. The total area is seven or eight miles in length, 
and three miles out to sea. The Gorran boats fish outside the Fowey 
ground. They have larger boats. Crabs and lobsters come towards the shore 
in warm weather, and bury themselves in the winter. There is sand off Fowey, 



24 



Close time. 



with rocks and patches of sand to the east. Sometimes the pots get into pits 
among the rocks and are lost. 

There are six or seven boats at Fowey. No boats have more than seven or 
eight strings of pots ; say 64 pots each, or 354 pots in all. The close season 
should extend from October 1st to March 1st. 



CRABS. 

Decrease. 



Gauge. 



Berried. 



LOBSTERS. 



Gauge. 
Berried. 



Plugging. 
Boiling. 

Norwegian. 
Gauge. 



Fishmongers' Hall, London, Wednesday, 1st November 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Charles Poland {examined by Mr. Buckland). Deals in crabs and lobsters 
among other things ; has been in business 20 years. Crabs have fallen off to a 
slight extent in number. The falling off commenced about 10 years ago; but 
during the last 10 years the number has remained stationary. The crabs are as 
large as ever; the decrease is in number. Gets a great many small crabs from 
Craster, Boulmer, Newbiggin, Chat Hill, Bilton, and other places in Northum- 
berland. Obtains lobsters from all over Scotland, especially from the Hebrides 
and the Orkneys ; they are being caught all along the Ayrshire coast. 
Lobsters come from Cullercoats, and some small ones from Dunbar. The size 
of crabs remains about the same ; the price remains the same. Gets very fine 
lobsters from Ireland, but very few crabs. Plenty of lobsters come from Skye. 
Is in favour of a gauge both for lobsters and crabs. Doesn't buy crabs two 
for one in London. A gauge of 5^ inches would seriously interfere with the 
crab fishery in Scotland. The Scotch crabs are a smaller race than the west 
coast crabs. The 5-inch crabs might be returned to the water. It would be 
an advantage to have these crabs returned all over England. Rarely gets 
crabs in spawn. It would be an advantage to have these spawn crabs returned. 
The fishermen might, however, have little compunction in taking off the 
spawn. There are not many soft crabs sent to the London market. Has 
seen lobsters 10 lbs. in weight. The smallest lobsters come from Ayrshire. 
A lobster 2|- inches in the barrel (produced) is too small for the market, and 
ought to be put back. The small lobsters from Bognor are caught in the 
prawn pots more from accident than design. Is of opinion that no lobster 
should be taken under 4 inches in the barrel. Gets a fair quantity of berried 
lobsters in the course of the year. They come from some districts in the 
spring, from others in the summer, and from others in the autumn. They are 
more rare in the winter. It would be an advantage to put back the berried 
hens ; but thinks the fishermen would take out the berries. Berried hens are 
sought for at times in the London market, and at other times are a drug. The 
berries are used for colouring sauce and decorating fish. The cooks are 
anxious to have the berries. It would be difficult to obtain a substitute if the 
sale of berried hens were prohibited. Irish lobsters come plugged to Billings- 
gate ; but it is very rare to have them plugged from other districts. Plugging 
has the effect of causing great anguish, and of ultimately killing the lobster. 
Never heard (except from report) of crabs being put into cold water and gra- 
dually boiled. Gets a large supply of lobsters from Norway from and after 
midsummer. They come over invariably alive in welled vessels. Has seen 
lobsters packed in charcoal. It is very easy to distinguish a Norwegian lobster 
from an English and Scotch lobster. The English lobsters are speckled ; the 
Norway lobsters are very brilliant in colour without any speckles. Does not 
know what gives the colour to a Norway lobster when it is boiled. Is not in 
favour of a close season, because the seasons in Scotland and England are so 
very varied. Only recommends a 5-inch gauge for crabs, and a 4-inch gauge 
in the barrel for lobsters. It would be perfectly easy, if the sale of berried hens 
were made illegal, for the fishermen to remove the berries at sea. It would be 
possible for these berries, if placed in certain places, to prove prolific. They 
distinguish the sex of crabs in Billingsgate by calling them king and queen 
crabs. There is a close season for lobsters in Norway ; but it is not strictly 
observed. 



25 

William Benjamin Fisher {examined by Mr. Walpole). Fish-salesman ^ 0B ^ <J • 

at Billingsgate. Over 20 years in business, and has been dealing in crabs and 

lobsters, chiefly in Norway lobsters. Has been dealing in Norway lobsters Norwegian. 

during the whole period. The Norway close season commences on the 15th 

July as far north as Bergen, and north of Bergen on the 1st August. The 

close season terminates at the end of August for the whole country. He 

commences sending for the lobsters to Norway very early in the spring. Has 

sent in the autumn months, but considered it such an injury to the fisheries 

that he gave it up. Tried for three seasons, but it destroyed the spring 

fishery, and gave it up. Thinks the Norwegian fisheries ought to be closed Close time. 

throughout the autumn. There are very few lobsters caught in Norway in the 

autumn. At this time of the year 6',000 to 8,000 lobsters a week are received 

at Billingsgate from Norway. Only one part of the Norwegian coast is 

fished. 

Begins to send for the Norwegian lobsters in March and April. The 
season is later as you get further north. Sends over welled smacks, and 
contracts for the whole take. The Norwegian lobsters are caught in 
coops. The supply has fallen off during the last seven years, and he attri- Decrease. 
butes this to the autumn fishing. 10 or 12 years ago used to have about 
600,000 lobsters a year from Norway, from three districts only. Is now 
working six districts (double the amount of coast), and the six districts only 
produced last year from 400,000 to 500,000 lobsters. There has been therefore 
a very serious falling off in Norway. The matter has been before the Nor- 
wegian Parliament now for three years running. A 7-inch lobster in Norway 
is full price. Under that size half price. Believes that there is no gauge for 
lobsters in Norway. Out of 100 Norwegian lobsters not 20 per cent, are 
under the 7 inches. Heard Mr. Poland's recommendation of a 4-inch gauge Gauge. 
in the barrel. This would be about 8 inches in length. There would be 
thousands of Norwegian lobsters under this gauge. Would not object to the 
institution of this gauge, but it would be a serious thing to the Norwegian 
fishermen. In his judgment the Norwegian lobster is smaller than the Scotch. 
Does not get 10 percent, of large lobsters. A two to three pound fish is a 
fair Norway lobster. Thinks a 8-inch gauge would be too large for Norway ; 
7| inches would be quite sufficient. Would agree to a 7i inch gauge. 

"Lobsters in a favourable passage reach Billingsgate from Norway in four 
days. In hot weather there is great mortality, and consequent waste. 

Gets very few berried lobsters from Norway. Doesn't know the reason Berried. 
of this. 

There are a great many lobsters come from France. They come from the French. 
Cherbourg coast and south of it. Thinks that perhaps 200,000 lobsters come 
to London from France. The quality of the French lobster is not good; 
these come by boat to Southampton, and thence by train to London. The 
lobster fishery in France is principally in the autumn — June, July, August, 
September. In August the French allow no berried hens to be taken, and 
the fishermen during that month scrape out the berries. The French lobsters spawning. 
are in season at the very time when the Norwegian lobsters are out of season. 
A French lobster in October would be a good fish, a Norwegian lobster watery. 
It is utterly impossible, therefore, to institute any close season in the 
London market applicable to all places and all localities. 

A few lobsters also come from Sweden. The Sweden season is rather earlier Swedish. 
than the Norwegian season ; and the Sweden fishery is being extinguished 
through the autumn fishing. 

The proper remedy for Norway is to close the Norwegian fishery in the Close time. 
autumn, and this therefore is probably the right course in the Hebrides, where 
the fishermen wish to close the autumn fishing. 

It would be very difficult to enforce local seasons. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) A 3 lb. Norway lobster is a fair size, 

George Stevenson (examined by Mr. Buckland). Fish merchant at CRABS. 
Billingsgate. Has been established on his own account for 40 years. The 
crabs come chiefly from the West of England, and a very few small ones from 
Scotland. The crabs have fallen off very much both in size and in number. Decrease. 
The falling off began 20 years ago, and has been progressive. Used to buy 
large crabs from 7s. to 9s. a turn; they are now 15s. Cannot tell the cause 
of the falling off, but thinks it is due to over-fishing. By over-fishing, means 



26 



taking everything and throwing nothing back, all the year round. The intro- 

Bailways. duction of railways has increased the consumption and the supply. Fish now 

come from every part of Scotland, whence they never came before. Railways 

Ijave, however, not only increased the supply, but have also dispersed it. The 

GRABS. great towns, which used to be supplied from London, are now supplied direct 

from the coast. Believes that Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and 

Bradford are well supplied. Is not in favour of a close season, but thinks 

Gauge. that no crab should be taken under 5 inches. The London fish merchants 

would all be glad of this. Had three barrels of light crabs from Portree this 
morning. They are valueless, because there is little in them ; but they are 

Sof quite wholesome. It would be impossible to carry out a law making it illegal 

to sell light crabs. There are such a few of them that it would not be worth 
while to do so. It would be impracticable to have a law for putting back the 

Berried. berried crabs. 

LOBSTERS. Can't say whether lobsters have been falling off on our own coasts. Used 

to get a great many Scotch lobsters in London which are now sent to other 

large towns. AVhen the railway was first opened up, they had a large supply 
of Scotch lobsters; now they are distributed over the whole of the United 
Kingdom. The market for lobsters is liable to extreme fluctuation. A box 

Price. worth SI. one day, with 60 to 80 lobsters, may next day be worth only 45s. 

Mode of A turn of lobsters may consist of different sized fish. The smallest fish are 

counting. called worst Nancy ; the slightly larger fish, best Nancy. 80 fish : 40 best 

Nancy, and 40 worst Nancy, make a turn. 

The best and worst Nancy are small lobsters, respectively 9f inches in 
length, and 4h inches in the barrel, or 8 inches in length, and 3§ in barrel. 

A turn may also consist of best doubles. These lobsters are bigger than 
the best Nancy ; 40 of these make a turn. 

A score and a half of large lobsters also make a turn, which in this case 
contains 20 good-sized lobsters and 10 bigger still. Forty to fifty years ago 
he has bought lobsters for from 1/. to 31. a turn. At that time the turns of 
lobsters were considerably bigger than they are now. A fish put into a score 
now would have been a "best double " 40 years ago. The baskets are made 
smaller, tending to deceive the purchasers. Sees no remedy for this. The 
cause of the cheapness of lobsters then was the great supply from Norway, 
Sweden, and Heligoland. The Heligoland fishing is now extinct. The 
Swedish fishing is rapidly becoming so ; and the Norwegian fishing is also 
falling off; they are destroying the fishery. Does not believe that the Scotch 
fishing is becoming extinct. Lobsters which used to be 6d. are now Is. and 
Is. 6d. Very few lobsters are exported from London to France. But lobsters 
are imported from France to London. Thinks that no lobster should be sold 
under 8 inches in the body, and 3^ inches in the barrel. Doesn't see, how- 
ever, how this is to bo carried out. The fishermen would find means for 
selling them. It would be possible to legislate for Billingsgate and the large 
markets, as the salesmen would assist to carry out the law; and if the fisher- 
men found that they were unable to sell them, they would put back the 
small'lobsters. The Norway merchants, however, sell very small lobsters ; 
doubts whether their sale can be prohibited here. If they were permitted to 
sell small lobsters, they would handicap our own countrymen. The Fish- 
mongers' Company appoint three very practical men to seize unwholesome fish, 
and these men could properly check the sale of undersized lobsters and crabs. 

There is a difficulty in throwing back the berried hens. They are generally 
worth twice as much as any other lobsters. The spawm is bruised and put 
into sauce, and makes better sauce than the lobster itself. In salads it is boiled 
and sprinkled over the salad. It is a capital article of food. The spawning 
hens are of value to the cooks, who won't have lobsters without spawn. The 
sale of berried hens must not be prohibited, as it would be preventing the 
fishermen taking the most valuable fish. The production of the lobsters is so 
enormous that, if a gauge were fixed, the taking a few berried hens would make 
no appreciable difference. Berried hens are in the best possible condition as 

Spawning. food. They form fresh spawn immediately after they have cast their spawn. 

If they have no spawn outside, they are full of the red coral inside. 
Cannot tell how often a crab sheds its shell. 

If the sale of berried hens were prohibited the fishermen would remove the 
berries. 



Heligoland. 

Sweden. 

Norway. 

Scotland. 



France. 



Gauge. 



Enforcement 
of laic. 



Berried. 



27 

Some of the Irish lobsters are now plugged, but very few lobsters are LOBSTERS, 
plugged now. It has fallen out of use, since Sir Peter Laurie took the matter pi uq „i nQ 
up. The practice is very cruel, and deteriorates the fish. None but a fool 
would boil crabs in cold water. Many of them are stabbed before they are 
boiled. It is impossible to legislate on this subject. Boiling. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) Doesn't recommend a close season for lobsters. Does 
not think it necessary. The lobsters are equally good all through the year. 
Receives good crabs in the London markets during the autumn. There are Season for. 
good crabs all the year round. Is not aware of the 9 Geo. II. c. 3',i, fixing a 
close season for Scotch lobsters. There is no difficulty in bringing the crabs CRABS, 

alive from Scotland, but they don't pay the cost of carriage. The Portree £ C0 ^ 
crabs are of an inferior sort. It is impossible to get any statistics of the 
value of the lobster and crab trade. 

The turn of lobsters used to be from 1/. to 3/. ; it would be now 5/. to 8/. LOBSTERS. 
The increase of price has not been so marked with crabs ; a Is. crab now j> r i ce% 
fetches Is. 6d. or Is. 9d. The increase in the price of lobsters is due to the 
falling off in the supply of foreign lobsters. It is not due to the increased 
population. The take of our own coasts has not fallen off; but the lobsters 
are more distributed over the country. As over fishing has led to a decrease 
of foreign lobsters, it may lead to a decrease of our own supply, but this has 
not come yet, and the gauge is a sufficient remedy. 

James Harvey {examined by Mr. Walpole). Shell fish merchant, of Fleet 
Street. Deals largely in crabs and lobsters. Is a retailer. Prefers Norwegian Norwegian. 
lobsters to all others. Scotch the next. English (British) third, and won't 
take the Jersey and French lobsters if he can help it, they are always watery. 
The Irish lobsters are very good. The Norwegian lobsters stop in August and 
don't come in again till Christinas. The English, Scotch, and other lobsters Season for. 
arrive all the .year round. There are always some lobsters very light, but 
there is no particular period of the year when the lobster is in bad condition. 
There are berried hens all the year round. The Skye saying, " that lobsters 
are not good unless there is an R in the month," is not true here. There are 
about 15 boxes of Scotch lobsters to a couple of shiploads of Norwegians. The 
Cornish are the worst lobsters ; but the finest crabs. The Cornish lobsters Cornish. 
are not good at any time of the year. They waste in the boiling, and are full 
of water. All along the English Channel the lobsters are delicious. Thinks 
that no lobster ought to be sold under 10 inches in length. (4f in barrel), Gauge. 
and is not apprahensive of this or the Norwegian trade. The Norfolk gauge 
of 7 inches would be considered in London "worst Nancy." A turn consists Mode of 
of 40 best Nancy's, 40 worst Nancy's, 40 best doubles, and a score and a half co ^nting. 
of large lobsters. If he wants the turn of the large lobsters, he must also get 
the turn of small ones. The merchants won't sell the big without the little. 

Does not think that crabs are decreasing generally ; has 400 a week, big and CRABS. 
little. The price is rising, but this is due to the increased demand, and not to the p . 
decreased supply. Sells nearly as many crabs in the winter as in the 
summer, but most are sold in the summer in the hot weather. A cock crab 
fetches double the price of a hen crab in the London market. Even among 
crabs of the same size,- the cock fetches most. The hen crab is not such 
good quality as the cock. In London people don't like the red meat, i.e., un- 
developed spawn, which is so liked in Scotland. The West of England crabs 
are the best. Is in favour of a 6-inch gauge for crabs. This, however, would Gauge. 
be a serious injury to the Scotch fishermen. He, however, never buys Scotch 
crabs if he can help it. Cock crabs are the best in the spring. Hen crabs 
then are as light as a feather. The hen crabs would have the berries under 
their tail in the beginning of December ; they then get under the rocks and 
cannot be caught. This applies chiefly to English crabs. There is no time of 
the year when both cock and hen crabs are both out of condition. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) Is aware that very small lobsters are sent from Norway. LOBSTERS. 
The smallest are now about 7 inches. Small lobsters are also taken in the Gauge 
prawn pots at Bognor and Selsea Bill. It would be very advisable to stop 
these small lobsters being taken. 

Knows Hamble. The crabs and lobsters are kept therein boxes for the Store pots. 
London market, and taken out as they are wanted. 

The hen crabs are not good in the spring, but cocks are then at the best. 
Prefers cock crabs in the summer, but in August and September the hen crab 



28 



CRABS. 



Soft. 



Berried. 



Gauge. 



Enforcement 
of law. 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 

Season for. 

LOBSTERS. 

Berried. 

Gauge. 



CRABS. 

Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



Season for. 



is at its best. The cock crab is good all through the year. Often gets baskets 
of crabs from Scotland. There are a large number of white crabs among them. 
They are very small, and some of them are watery. Is in favour of these white 
crabs being returned to the water. Gets most of these white crabs in the 
spring of the year. A berried hen is worth double as much as any other 
lobster. Some men get a good living by buying spawn from retailers, and 
retailing it to pastry-cooks. Has had Is. for 2 ozs. of spawn. 

A crab under 6 inches hardly pays to brush, i.e., clean. A hen crab has to 
have all the spawn, and the " feathers " to which the spawn is attached, 
brushed out from under its tail before it is sold. Would have no crabs sold 
under 6 inches. Thinks that the retailers generally would approve this gauge, 
but the small retailers buy the small crabs and lobsters cheap. 

Henry Burland {examined by Mr. Walpole). One of the fishmeters at 
Billingsgate. Is appointed by the Fishmongers' Company. It is his duty to 
inspect all fish brought into the market, and judge whether it is fit for human 
food : if it is unfit, to condemn it and seize it. This applies to shell fish as 
well as all other kinds. There are three officers in this position. Theoretically 
all the fish brought into the market pass under the cognisance of himself or one 
of his colleagues. Has no instructions to ascertain whether the fish sold can 
be legally sold : only looks to its condition. If a gauge were fixed for crabs, 
there would be a difficulty in carrying it out. Hardly sees one out of every 
50 crabs sold. Only sees that they are alive. The size of the crab in most 
cases could not be ascertained till the fish was exposed for sale by the retailer. 
Sometimes 120 packages of crabs arrive by the same line of railway ; they are 
scattered over the market, and if there were 20 fishmeters they would be unable 
to see every package. The sellers even now try and set the fishmeters at defiance, 
with respect to the sale of unsound fish, and they would do so with live fish. If 
it were illegal to buy, sell, or take unsizeable crabs, it would act as a great 
deterrent to their capture ; and this result would be increased by the know- 
ledge that the fishmeters would seize unsizeable fish. But the only way to 
stop the traffic would be to make it illegal for anyone to have an unsizeable 
fish in his possession for sale. In this case it would be possible to stop the 
traffic in unsizeable crabs and lobsters. Thinks that a lobster over 8 inches 
might be sold. Under that length should not be sold. Thinks a barrel gauge 
easier than a gauge of the entire length. Is in favour of a 5-inch gauge for 
crabs. Smaller crabs should not be sold. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The crabs come to Billingsgate in baskets and in 
barrels, both dead and alive. Never heard of crabs and lobsters being packed 
in coal. 

Edward Winder (examined by Mr. Buckland). Succeeded to Mr. Scott's 
business in the Haymarket 12 months ago. Has a very large demand for crabs 
and lobsters, especially in the summer months, July for preference. This is 
because oysters are out of season. His experience does not extend beyond 12 
months. He doesn't care for lobsters under 9 inches, prefers 12-inch lobsters. 
There is no great demand in his business for berried hens. Doesn't care to have 
crabs under 6 inches. Wouldn't object to gauge of 6 inches for crabs and 
9 inches for lobsters. If it were made penal to sell them anywhere, it would 
stop the catch on the sea coast. The mere fact of a law would stop the sale. 
Tradesmen do not like to see articles which it is illegal to sell exposed in their 
shops. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) In his opinion 5 inches is too small for a crab, and 
would prefer a 6-inch gauge. Thinks this might have a prejudicial effect 
on the smaller tradesmen in the poorer districts of London. This, however, 
ought not to influence Parliament in considering the object in view. 

Prefers a 9-inch gauge for lobsters, and does not think that it would be a 
serious injury to the trade eventually. It would be ludicrous to go below the 
8 inches. 

Henry Barber (examined by Mr. Walpole). A fish salesman in Billings- 
gate, established 40 years. His own experience extends for 29 years. Deals 
largely in shell fish. Obtains his lobsters chiefly from Scotland, Cornwall, 
Devonshire, Jersey, and the Channel Islands. The Scotch lobsters come 
principally in the colder months, the English lobsters from the spring to the 
autumn. The Scotch and English lobster seasons are perfectly different. 
Thinks the difference is due to the difficulty of carrying the lobsters from 



29 

Scotland in the hot weather. Gets lobsters from all round the Scotch coast, LOBSTERS. 

especially from the Hebrides and the Orkneys. A good many from the 

mainland from Thurso to Skye, and from Stornoway, Tarbert, Lochmaddy, 

Ben Becula, and South Uist. Some of the Hebrides lobsters always die. 

These are those out of season. The mortality arises chiefly among the lobsters 

which are stored in ponds, both in Stornoway and Tarbert. Has never refused 

to receive store lobsters. But the pond lobsters are half starved and lighter Kept in ponds. 

than the others. Has a pond at Heme Bay himself. Has 2,000 lobsters 

there, has kept them there two months. They don't deteriorate enough to 

make it desirable to prohibit the ponds. The lobsters are stored to supply 

London in stormy weather. 

Thinks legislation for lobsters is very greatly required. A gauge is very Gauge. 
necessary. No lobster under 8 inches should be sold. Is in favour of pre- 
serving the berried hens. The berried hen is the most valuable of all lobsters, 
but not for the market, except during the London season. If the sale of 
berried hens were prohibited, fishermen would be tempted to remove the scried. 
berries. But a practical man could always detect whether the berries had been 
removed. It would, however, be impossible to distinguish between a berried 
hen which had just shot her berries, and a berried hen whose berries had been 
removed artificially. Under all circumstances is, however, in favour of pro- 
hibiting the sale of berried lobsters. 

Thinks the berried lobster more valuable than the lobster with coral in her. 
The cooks, if they can't get the berries, will have to take the coral. 

Lobsters are very thin in June, July, ana August. This applies to West of 
England lobsters; but it is impossible to make a close season. There are 
always good lobsters among the bad ones. 

Crabs come from all round the coast except Wales. The supply is falling CRABS. 

off, especially in the West of England. There are two species of edible crabs ; t 

the West of England crab is a large crab ; the east coast crab is a small crab. decrease. 
A gauge that would suit the West of England would not suit the East coast. 
Thinks that no crab under 5 inches should be taken or sold. It should be Gauge. 
illegal also to sell crabs with spawn under the tail. Many crabs in spawn % err i e a. 
come to the London market. 

(By Mr. BucMand.) The small lobsters come from Bognor and Skye. Their 
sale should be prohibited. The crabs live better when they are packed close 
together. It would be very difficult to enforce the return of berried hens. 
Cray-fish are dying out ; they come from the Cornish coast and Scilly. They CRAY-FISH 
frequently have them full of spawn, and these he thinks ought not to be — - 

sold. The cray-fish trade is quite as important as the lobster trade. Cray- Decrease. 
fish are dearer than lobsters. They are 2s. to 2s. 6d. each when the average p ice 
size. Never heard that the cray-fish are a migrating fish ; they can always be 
caught in Scilly. Thinks that no cray-fish under 10 inches should be taken. Gauge. 
Has bought 150 cray-fish at 9c?. ; they are now 2s. anc? 2s. 6d. each. 

Crabs shoot their shells in the spring time. The soft crabs ought not to be CRABS. 

sent to London, but returned to the water uninjured. This is very important 

to the crabs and to the London tradesmen. There are a large number of them °^ ' 
come in the spring of the year from Cornwall. The Scotch crabs come the 
same way, but they are not so important. 

John Samuel, Second Warden of the Fishmongers' Company. The Enforcement 
powers of the Company are derived from the Charter 2 James I., 30th August of law. 
1604. Will read the portion of the Charter conferring the powers of seizure 
of unwholesome fish : — 

"And moreover we will, and by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, 
we grant, to the same Wardens and Commonalty of the mistery of Fishmongers 
of the city of London, and to their successors. That the same Wardens and 
the Assistants of the mistery of Fishmongers of the city of London aforesaid, 
and their successors which for the time shall be, from time to time hereafter for 
ever shall have, make, and use within the city of London and within the 
liberties and suburbs of the same, and within our borough of Southwark 
aforesaid, at all convenient times, the full and entire survey, search, govern- 
ment, and correction of all and singular persons, denizens, and strangers, 
and of all others whatsoever, of whatsoever art or mistery they shall be selling, 
or having, possessing, or keeping to sell, any salted fish, salted herrings, fresh 
fish of the sea, salmons, stock fish, or any other fishes whatsoever, within the 



30 



Enforcement 
of law. 



same city of London, liberties or suburbs of the same city, or within the same 
borough of Southwark, and the liberties and precincts of the same borough. 
And that it shall be lawful to the Wardens of the same mistery for the time 
being, and to every of them, from time to time and at all times convenient, 
whensoever it shall seem good unto them or any of them, to enter into any 
house, shop, ship, cellar, wharf, and other places and places whatsoever within 
the city and borough aforesaid, or either of them, or within the suburbs, liberties, 
or precincts of the same city and borough, or either of them, where any such 
salted fish, salted herrings, fresh fish of the sea, salmons, stock fish, or other 
fish whatsoever shall be laid or housed, whether the same be in cask or without 
cask, and to view, search, and survey whether the same be wholesome for 
man's body and fit to be sold or no. And if the same fish, either fresh or salt, 
herrings, salmons, stock fish, or other fish whatsoever by them or any cf them 
within the city, borough, suburbs, liberties, or precincts aforesaid, in such 
search shall be found to be unwholesome or corrupt, or unfit to be sold, 
that then it shall be lawful to the same Wardens of the Mistery of Fishmongers 
aforesaid, or to any of them, the same bad, unwholesome, and corrupt fish from 
the owners and possessors thereof as forfeit to take and seize, and thereof to 
dispose and do according to our laws of England, and the usuages and customs 
of the said city of London and borough aforesaid from time to time used and 
frequented." 

It would not be possible, for the officers of the company to carry out a law 
of gauge under the powers contained in their Charter. But the company 
would be willing to undertake the duty if Parliament would confer on them 
the powers for doing so, for the purpose of protecting the fishery, and for the 
better provision of food for the London market ; and would be willing to 
incur a reasonable expense with this object. 



Board Boom, Aquarium, Southport, Friday, 27th October 

1876. 



Decrease. 



Price. 



Present : 

Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

CRABS. James Crook, fish dealer, Chapel Street, Southport. Has been in the trade 

for the last 25 years — first in Manchester and latterly in Southport. Has dealt 
in crabs and lobsters during that period. Considers the supply of crabs has 
fallen off considerably during the last 1 6 years. During that period there 
has been a gradual diminution both in size and number. The principal supply 
for the Southport market comes from Scotland in spring and from the Isle of 
Man in the middle of summer. In winter very few are received, and they are 
Irish crabs. Purchases from the Manchester and Liverpool markets through 
salesmen. The price of crabs has doubled in the last ten years, and the size 
diminished one half. Calls a fan-sized crab one from 8 to 10 inches ; the 
smallest are from 2| to 3 inches. In a barrel of crabs ten years ago all were a 
fair size through ; at the present time there are only about a dozen really good 
crabs in a barrel, and they are put on the top. It is a great disadvantage to 
have the small crabs, as the majority of customers will not buy them. Con- 
siders a crab weighing 1 lb. to \\ lb., and from 6 to 10 inches in length, a fair 
sized one. Customers like crabs about \ lb. or 1 lb. in weight, or 6 to 10 
inches in length, and will not purchase the small crabs, which are sold cheap 
to children. It is a perfect waste to send small crabs to the Southport market 
at all. Business would not be injured if the small crabs were kept entirely 
out of the market ; is desirous they should be. A "full" crab is 6 to 10 
inches lengthways, and crabs below 6 inches sell two for one. A man, used to 
counting crabs, would count out say 30 crabs, and call them two dozen. Some 
of these would be full, but the majority small. No crab should be sold under 
Gauge. Q inches across the back ; 5 inches is too small. A man who was used to 

sorting crabs could distinguish the sizes without difficulty if he had the will to 
do so. Receives a good many "spent," "wasted," or "white-footed" crabs 



31 

amongst the others. They are very light, full of water, and perfectly useless CRABS. 

for the table. These white-footed crabs come from July to October. They Soft. 

are a loss to his business, as he cannot sell them, and if his shopman send one 

out by accident it is returned. Sending out such crabs injures the business of 

the fishmonger. It is very desirable that the sale of these white crabs should 

be prohibited. Would welcome an Act of Parliament prohibiting the sale of 

them, and it would benefit the public at large. The " spent " crabs are those 

which have recently shed their shells, and upon which the new shell has not 

hardened. Crab fishermen are in the habit of killing these white crabs. Such 

crabs should be returned into the water in order to grow into hard crabs. 

Is also a dealer in lobsters. Lobsters have not.fallen off in the same manner LOBSTERS, 
as crabs, but are very much dearer than formerly. Prices fluctuate according p r i ce , 
to Billingsgate prices, which vary with the supply from Norway and elsewhere. 
They have lately decreased in size very greatly. No lobsters should be sold 
under 9 inches, measured from the head to the end of the tail. Lobsters that 
size and larger could be sold better than smaller. Small lobsters should be 
returned to the water. Has received them as small as 4 or 5 inches, but such Gauge. 
small ones should not be allowed to be sold. Often receives spawn lobsters. 
Is now receiving great quantities of spawning lobsters from the Orkneys. 
Orkney lobsters are the best and very large. The spawn is used by cooks Berried. 
to colour the sauce. It is a very great waste. If the public knew that 
the sauce in an ordinary sauce boat represented 1,000 lobsters they would not 
continue to use the eggs, which only please the eye, and in no way improve 
the flavour of the sauce. Has known the spawn when scarce to be sold at 6d. 
an ounce. There should be a close time for berried lobsters and small lobsters Close time. 
from 1st July to middle of August. It would be better if they were both put 
back into the sea at all times. All lobsters under 9 inches should be put back. 
Lobsters are not good for table just after spawning. When they have just 
spawned they are black under the tail, instead of being bright coloured. The 
Isle of Man crab fishery is nothing like what it used to be either in the size 
or quality of the fish. If the foregoing gauge and close time were enacted, it 
would benefit the trade of Southport, and increase the general supply of crabs 
and lobsters. If berried hens were put back into the water lobsters would be 
more plentiful and cheaper. 

William Howard. Has been for five years a fishmonger in Southport. CRABS. 
Is in the habit of dealing in crabs and lobsters. The best season for crabs is Season. 
in the summer. Those sold in Southport are from the Isle of Man, Ireland 
and Scotland. In the summer most of them come from the Isle of Man, and 
they are the best. Crabs are small this season, and a great deal dearer 
and scarcer than last season. They generally run from 5 to 8 or 9 inches. 
{Produced two crabs, one 4f inches, the other 4-| inches.) Often has them smaller 
than that in a barrel, many of them only 3 inches. Such small crabs are not 
profitable. Visitors and hotel-keepers will not buy them. Often has to 
throw them away. There should be a prohibition of the sale of all crabs Gauge. 
under 5 inches at any time of the year. There ought to be a close time for C i ose fi me% 
crabs from August to April. Just now not one out of twenty in a barrel are 
fit for sale. Often finds ( ' spent " crabs beginning about August and getting Soft. 
worse during the winter season. Cannot sell them, and often has to throw 
them away. If customers buy them they do not find them good, and bring 
them back again. There should be a law to prohibit entirely the sale of spent 
crabs ; it would increase business, and make crabs cheaper. Does not often 
have crabs with eggs under the tail, they are very rarely caught. Lobsters LOBSTERS, 
were scarce last summer, but are more plentiful now, and weigh from one 
pound to three pounds. In a basket of lobsters there are always some small, 
even less than a quarter of a pound. The small ones are not saleable. A 
lobster should not be less than a pound, which would be about 9 to 10 inches Gauge. 
long. Small lobsters should not be sold at all, and should be allowed to grow 
into big ones. The berried hens are valuable. The eggs are used for colouring 
sauce. Cooks always want spawn, and there is always a great demand for 
berried hens. 

William Wright. Has been a fish dealer for between three and four years 
and for seventeen years a trawl fisherman. Has heard Mr. Howard's evidence 
and agrees with it. Small crabs should not be sold. The minimum gauge 
40353. p 



32 



CRABS. 



Gauge. 



should be 5 inches. All under 5 inches should be an illegal catch. A full 
crab is S inches. No " spent " crabs should be sold, and all small lobsters 
should be put back. There are about 10 or 12 crab and lobster dealers in 
Southport. Thinks they would agree on all points given in the evidence. 



Infant Schoolroom, North Sunderland, Tuesday, 14th November 

1876. 



Boats. 



Trunks. 

LOBSTERS. 

Close time. 



CRABS. 

Decrease. 

Sp atoning. 
Soft. 

Railways. 

Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 
Berried. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Robert Paterson {examined by Mr. Walpole). Of North Sunderland. Lived 
47 years at Newton-by-the-Sea (6 miles south of North Sunderland), after that 
33 years at Monk's House; has been 4| years here. Has been a fisherman all his 
life, and has been in the habit of fishing for crabs and lobsters. When he was a 
lad there were only four or five boats out of Newton, three or four out of Beadnell. 
There are twenty times as many boats new. He began fishing at 13, and 
stopped 13 years ago. When he began, crabs were of no'use ; there was no sale 
for them. Never sold crabs for more than Is. a score — they would fetch a good 
deal more now. Lobsters were the main thing when he began. There were 
more lobsters when he began than when he left off fishing. When he was a 
lad has got from 52 to 75 lobsters in a night. Used in those days to fish with 
trunks (iron rings, 21 inches in diameter). There were 2 men and 24 trunks in 
a boat. No trunks are used now. Nothing but creels are used. Can't tell 
how many creels a boat carries. Many more than 24. Three times that num- 
ber. The lobster season used to commence on the 1st December, and lasted 
till the end of May. After then the fishermen knocked off, and went on to 
line fishing and herring fishing. Can't say when they begin now. When he 
was a lad his lobsters all went to London. Welled smacks came for them. 
Lobsters were then 9d. a piece — this was a lobster 4\ inches in the barrel ; 
under that they counted two for one. The biggest lobster he ever saw was 
71 lbs . the smallest was about 2 oz. in weight. 

William Robson {examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been fishing for crabs and 
lobsters off North Sunderland for 45 years ; 3 miles north, 1 mile south, 5 miles 
out to sea is the extent of the ground. There are 15 boats fishing the ground. 
Each boat, on an average, sets 70 creels. Rings have gone entirely out of 
fashion. The crabs have fallen off greatly, and especially the last year. The 
falling off began 10 years ago, it is both in size and number. The merchants 
won't take very small crabs. They won't take them below 4 inches. 8 inches 
he would call a large crab. Thinks the decrease in the crabs is due to the 
excessive fishing. The fishermen begin fishing in January, and fish till June. 
The crabs are full of spawn, outside the shell, in June. The light crabs come 
in about this time of year (November). Sometimes they are hove away; but 
sometimes they are so soft that they float, and cannot get to the bottom. 
Thinks it is a great waste to destroy the soft crabs. The price of crabs has 
increased to 4s. 6d. a score. This is since the railway started. Before the rail- 
way opened there was no sale for them. Thinks crab fishing ought to com- 
mence in December and end in May. There ought to be no fishing during the 
rest of the year. It would also be advisable to put back the small crabs. None 
should be taken under 3 inches across the back. The soft crabs should also be 
returned to the water. Lobsters are not so large as they used to be, and there 
are not so many as there used to be. In May and June he catches five berried 
hens for one cock lobster. Gets no more money for a berried hen than another 
lobster of the same size. Thinks the falling off of lobsters is due to taking the 
berried hens. A few lobsters are in spawn all the year round ; but it is very 
rare to get a berried hen in December. Has thrown away many berried hens 
himself. Many fishermen, however, would not agree to a law to throw back 
berried hens. Has seen lobsters as small as 2 inches in the barrel ; these are 
inshore in June. Thinks that very small lobsters should not be taken, and that 



the merchants should not take them. The merchants only now take lobsters LOBSTERS 
under 4^ inches as two to one. Has known lobsters killed by storms in very 
heavy seas, but not many. 

James Archibald (examined by Mr. Walpole). A fisherman at Craster, 
Has been 41 years crab-catching - . Craster is about 8 or 9 miles south of 
North Sunderland. The crab ground extends off Craster 4 miles south, 
3 north, and 4 to 5 seawards. There are not above 15 boats from Craster, but 
they have had 18 or 1.9. They have had many losses of life at sea, which have 
diminished the number of boats. When he was a lad there were about a dozen Boats. 
boats out of Craster. When he was a lad began crab and lobster fishing before 
December and ended at the close of May. The Craster men still keep to this Close time. 
old custom ; but at Boulmer, Newton, and Beadnell he believes that the creels 
have been shot already, i.e. November. Thinks this is an injury to the fishery. 
Thinks the lobsters migrate from one ground to the other, and that the unsea- ^iffratiop. 
sonable fishing at one place affects the fishery in other places. There is not one 
crab or lobster now for 20 when he was a lad. When he was a lad could, with 
his present tackle, have got 50 score crabs in a night. The most they ever got Decrease. 
last year was 22 score in one day. Never caught 30 lobsters in a day in his 
life. 12 would have been the average catch 40 years ago. There is many a 
day now when the boats won't average three lobsters- Does not think the 
average for the season would be more than three. 

The crabs were the first to fall off. This failure began about 25 years ago. CRABS. 
The lobsters began to fall off about the same time. Thinks the decrease was j) eCYe ^T 
due to excessive fishing. There was a great increase of fishermen about that 
time. The railways had been made a few years before. Thinks that there are 
not merely more fishermen to divide the take among, but that the crabs have 
decreased in number. Thinks the proper remedy is a close season for crabs 
and lobsters. The close season should commence on the 1st June and end on Close time. 
the 30th November. This is the universal opinion at Craster. The coast- 
guard could enforce the law. 

Thinks also that the little crabs and lobsters should be put back. A 4-inch Gauge. 
gauge might do. A 4-inch gauge in the barrel might also do for lobsters. 

George Dawson (examined by Mr. Buckland). A fisherman of Craster for 
40 years. Has heard Mr. Archibald's evidence. Agrees with him that crabs 
and lobsters are falling off. When first he went fishing they had nothing but Decrease. 
iron rings ; they now use creels. Agrees with a close season commencing on 
1st June and ending 30th November. Thinks the Scotch crabs are larger 
than the Northumberland crabs. Thinks that all crabs under 4 inches should 
be returned to the sea. Will agree to a 4-inch barrel gauge for lobsters if all Gauge. 
the rest will do so. Crabs are capital bait for lobsters, but not for crabs. Has Used for bait. 
broken up crabs as bait for codling. It is a good bait. There are very few 
crabs, however, used as bait at Craster. The haddocks are caught with 
mussels, which they get from Stockton. In November more than half the crabs 
are soft. The close season, if it were enacted, would save all the soft crabs. The Soft. 
he crabs continue softer longer than the she. The "shes" cast their shells Casting shell* 
in the height of summer. Cannot say how far crabs will travel. They crawl 
most in thick water. The crab pots are baited with fish. The crabs are sent 
away alive. The lobsters have their claws tied, not plugged. Has store places Store pots. 
for keeping lobsters. They are called "hullies," i.e., boxes with holes. The 
bottom of the sea is rocky, very little sand. In January they begin to fish in 
22 to 23 fathoms water, and draw closer in shore from lobsters as the year Migration. 
advances. 

William Mason (examined by Mr . Walpole). Has lived in North Sunder- 
land for 13 years. Was bred and born at Craster. Has been a fisherman for 
seven years for crabs and lobsters. Fished off Craster. Thinks the crabs are 
increasing in number. Believes that there is a bigger tonnage of crabs sent Increase. 
away than ever by North-eastern Railway. The station-masters at Chat Hill 
and at Christon Bank so informed him. Thinks, also, lobsters are increasing. 
Thinks that the cod are an enemy to the crabs. Enemies. 

Does not think that any legislation is necessary, except that he is in favour 
of a close season. The fishing season should begin on the 1st February and Close time. 
end the last of May for lobsters, and last of June for crabs. The question of 
size should be left to merchants and fishermen of the crabs, but all lobsters 
under 4 inches in the barrel should be hove away. A 5-inch crab is a large crab. Gauge. 

p 2 



34 



CRABS. 

Decreased size. 
Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 

Close time. 



Berrien. 

CRABS. 



Spawning. 
Soft. 



Season for. 

Soft. 
Close time. 

Creels. 



Gauge. 
LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

Boats. 

CRABS. 

Close time. 



LOBSTERS. 



Close time. 
Gauge. 



Thomas Hall, of Beadnell {examined by Mr. Buckland). A fisherman for 30 
years. Fishes about 3 miles north and 3 miles south of Beadnell, and about 4 
miles seawards. The bottom is rocky. The crabs have not decreased in number, 
bat they have decreased in size in-shore. The price of crabs has risen. The 
very small crabs (say 3 inches) are hove away. Has had crabs as large as 5 lbs. 
weight. Is in favour of returning small and soft crabs and of having no close 
season. Is in favour of a close season for lobsters after May. They should 
resume the lobster fishing after September. The object of the close season is 
to save the breeding fish. There was a time when berried hens, however 
small, counted as full lobsters. During the last few years small berried hens 
have counted two for one. Never collects the berries and sells them separately, 
but hears they are so sold. Thinks that the berried hen crabs should be 
spared. They are thicker in May and June than at any other time, but crabs 
are taken with berries all the year round. The crabs are thicker this year off 
Craster then they have been for nine years back. This is in deep water. In- 
shore the crabs are certainly decreasing. In November on some days one half, 
some days more, some days hardly any, of the crabs would be soft. The soft 
crabs are taken in 20 fathom water. They are unmarketable and unfit for food, 
and ought to be returned. Some of the soft crabs are sold, however. There 
are about 30 fishermen at Beadnell. There are three men to each boat, 36 
creels to the three men. The creels are examined every day if the weather 
permits. Sometimes, however, they cannot get out for the weather for a week. 
Lobsters can get out of a creel, and he believes they go out claw foremost. 
There are no cray-fish about here. 

Isaac Dickson (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Beadnell. A fisher- 
man for 28 years. Has been fishing occasionally for crabs and lobsters. When 
he first went out used to fish for crabs and lobsters all the year through except 
for three months during the herring season. During the last three years has 
been catching crabs from October till the end of June. Before these three 
years, used to begin in February. They commenced the October fishing 
because they found the crabs and lobsters paid better than the white fishing. 
They are mostly crabs in October, only a few lobsters. Gets a great many soft 
crabs. Thinks this a very great waste. It would be a good thing to stop the 
waste. Would, as a Beadnell man, be in favour of a close season for crabs 
from the 1st July to the 30th November. Believes that the Beadnell men are 
doing harm to the fishery of the autumn fishing. The lobster close season 
should begin 1st June, and go on to the 30th November. Crabs and lobsters 
are caught in the same creels. The fishermen fishing for crabs in June would 
have to put back any lobsters they caught. A good many of the Beadnell 
men would agree to this close season. Thinks the Coastguard might enforce 
the close season. 

Is in favour of returning all small crabs to the sea. Thinks that all under 
4 inches should be returned. Is in favour of returning all lobsters under 
4 inches in the barrel. 

Crabs and lobsters are not increasing. More may be caught, but there is 
more machinery for catching them. 

Charles Dawson (examined by Mr. Buckland). Lives at North Sunder- 
land. Has been fishing for crabs and lobsters for 40 years. Thinks that 
there are not much fewer caught, but there are more boats and men catching 
them. Forty years ago there were about six boats here; now there are 16 to 
20. The aggregate take of the boats is as. large as ever, but each boat gets 
fewer. Is in favour of a close season commencing on the 1st July, and ending 
on the 31st January. The crabs are not in season in these months. There 
are about 50 crab fishermen. The population of North Sunderland is 900 to 
1,000. Most of the fishermen are in favour of the close season he has recom- 
mended. Is in favour of returning small crabs to the water. Is in favour of 
a close season for lobsters commencing on the 1st June, and ending on the 
30th November. The gauge for lobsters is 4\ inches in the barrel. It would 
not do to return all lobsters below this size. But small lobsters ought not to 
be taken. Cannot say exactly what the gauge should do. 

John Stephens (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Beadnell. Has been 
a fisherman for about 20 years. Heard part of Mr. Dickson's evidence. Is in 
favour of a close season. Lobster fishing used, when he was a boy, to begin 
on 1st December and close at the end of May. Crab fishing went on till the 



herring season began, i.e., till the end of June or middle of July. Started chads. 
this year early in October; thinks this a bad plan. In everyday when he 
began there were 10 to 50 crabs in every net, and in some nets all the crabs 
were bad ; the great majority were soft. Only got one barrel of crabs out of s °f f - 
the whole take. This ought not to be allowed. 

Has always flung small crabs away, and is in favour of returning all under Gauge. 
4£ inches. The small lobsters escape through the mesh of the creel. Would L0JjSTER ' 
toss away all under 4 inches in the barrel. Gauge. 

John Dawson {examined by Mr. BucUand). Of North Sunderland. Has 
been fishing 24 years. Has heard previous evidence. There are just as many 
crabs caught now as ever, but there are more fishermen and more gear to take 
them. Agrees that small crabs should be returned to the water, and also 
small lobsters. Agrees that there should be a close time. Fishing should Close time. 
commence in February, and end at the close of June. Thinks the fishermen 
would obey such a close season. 



N.B. — Before the close of the inquiry some small crabs (the largest 4£ inches) CRABS, 
were produced. The fishermen were unanimous in thinking the largest of " — 

these too small to be taken, and were in favour of a 4^-inch gauge. Gauge. 



School Buildings, Cullercoats, Wednesday, 15th November 1876. 

Present: 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Robert Carr {examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Cullercoats. A fisherman 
and fish dealer. Fourteen years in business, and about 32 years fishing for crabs 
and lobsters. The crab and lobster ground extends three miles north, one mile 
south, and two miles out to sea. There are about 30 boats at Cullercoats fishing 
for crabs and lobsters. Commences fishing for shell fish about the 1st April; Season. 
continues till the beginning of July, when the herring season commences. 
Lobster fishing is resumed in October, lasts for about a month, and is not 
again resumed till the following April. The fishing is entirely with creels, 
which are here called pots. Pots have been in use ever since he can recollect. p ts. 
The shell fish go to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, and 
Shields. 

Crabs have fallen off since he has been engaged in the fishery. During the 
last 14 years the crabs have fallen off one half. The decrease is in number ; Decrease. 
there is not much difference in their size. Cannot say what the decrease is 
attributable to. It did not commence before 14 years ago. Cannot account 
for it. Crabs 14 years ago were 2s. 6d. a score ; they are now 4s. Price. 

There are not a great many lobsters taken on this coast. Thinks they are LOBSTERS, 
decreasing too. There are not so many landed per boat as there were. Cannot 
account for this, except that there are more boats fishing for them. Twenty- Decrease. 
eight years ago there were only 21 boats, now there are 42. The boats carried Boats. 
28 years ago, and carry now, three men and a boy each. They carry now 
36 creels each, and used to carry about 24 creels 28 years ago. There are 
twice as many boats as there were 28 years ago, and each boat carries one 
third more tackle. The increase in the boats has been taking place gradually. 
Thinks that this increase in the number of fishermen may have some con- 
nexion with the decrease in the supply of fish. Thinks that the fish have 
been over-thinned by the increased fishing. Thinks that the fishermen take 
too small fish. It would be a good thing to require the return of all fish 
under a certain size to the sea. Thinks that any crab under 4 inches should Gauge. 
be returned. A full-size lobster is 4| inches in the barrel. Under that size LOBSTERS, 
they go two for one. Would agree to return all lobsters under 4 inches in the c 
barrel. Very few lobsters are caught in October. The soft crabs caught are ge ' 
put over alive. In October only the old men fish. Does not think the 
October fishing is an injury. 



36 



CRABS. 

Spawning. 



Berried. 

Sc>ft. 
LOBSTERS. 

Spawning. 

Close time. 



CRABS. 



Value as food. 



Close time. 
LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



Boats. 
Decrease. 



Close time. 
Soft. 

Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Decrease. 
Price. 



Soft. 



{By Mr. Buchland.) Crabs with spawn are never brought ashore. They are 
mostly caught with spawn in June. A 5-inch crab will carry spawn. Ever 
since he can remember, all spawning crabs have been returned to the sea. 
The male crabs are found in the roughest rocks. The bottom of the sea off 
Cullercoats is sand and rock alternately, and there is plenty of long tangle 
weed. The fishermen would not object to a law compelling them to return 
berried crabs. By a soft crab means a crab that has cast its hard shell, and has 
got a very tender shell. These are mostly caught in October, but they are 
never sold. Has never tried to eat a soft crab, there is nothing in them. 
Catches some big and some little crabs. Berried lobsters are mostly caught in 
June. Has had many less than 4| inches in the barrel. Finds berried hens all the 
year round. Gets no more money for them than for other lobsters. Cannot say 
whether it would be advisable to put back berried hens to the sea, but would 
recommend a close season for lobsters in July, August, and September. Never 
saw a lobster shed its shell; but one did change its shell on his own premises. 
The crab pots in April are put into 16-fathom water, and gradually are brought 
in nearer the shore, till in June they are close to the rock side. 

J. Cameron Reid, M.D. {examined by Mr. Buchland). In practice at New- 
biggin. Went there 24 years ago ; there were then only two or three boats going 
out for crabs and lobsters. Frequently saw small lobsters taken from pots, 
and pointed out to the men the unwisdom of this course. The men replied 
that others did it, and that it would be a better thing if there was a law to 
stop it. Thought that the men who bought these small fish were worse than 
those who took them, as encouraging this wasteful practice. With regard to 
crabs, the small crabs are in better condition than the large crabs, and are often 
heavier than the larger ones. The population of Newbiggin in 1871 was 1,135, 
and there are from 100 to 200 fishermen. The crab and lobster fishermen are 
usually old men. There are from 8 to 11 boats there. As a medical man he 
considers that crabs and lobsters are nutritious, and ought therefore to be 
increased ; they contain a great deal of phosphorus, and are good for the brain. 
The Newbiggin people would be glad of a law. In his opinion July, August, 
and September ought to be closed both for crabs and lobsters. Every crab 
above 4 inches should be marketable, and 4 inches in the barrel should be the 
gauge for lobsters. 

Robert Dent {examined by Mr. Walpole). A fisherman of Newbiggin. Has 
been a fisherman 48 years. Forty-eight years ago there were only three or four 
boats at Newbiggin fishing for crabs and lobsters ; there are eight now. The 
boats have more than double the amount of tackle they used to. Thinks that 
the crabs and lobsters are diminishing. They began to diminish 12 or 14 years 
ago. Forty-eight years ago a boat might have taken 10 or 12 lobsters a day. 
They can get as many now, but they must use double the amount of tackle to 
do so. Thinks the decrease is due to over-fishing. At Newbiggin the crabs and 
lobsters are fished all the year round. Does not think this is a good plan. This 
has gone on for six or eight years. The season used to commence in September 
and end in May, Is in favour of a close season for crabs and lobsters. It 
should be in June, July, and August. This should apply both to crabs and 
lobsters. Thinks there is no harm in the autumn fishing. The soft crabs are 
returned to the sea uninjured. Is also in favour of a gauge, 4 inches for 
crabs, and a 4-inch barrel-gauge for lobsters. Below this they go four for one, 
and are not worth taking. 

Colin Downie {examined by Mr. Buchland). A fish-dealer at Newbiggin. 
Has been in business 16 years. Buys crabs arid lobsters from the fishermen. 
There are about four dealers at Newbiggin. There are eight boats at this time, 
and 12 in the summer season. The crabs have fallen off a little in his time ; 
not a great deal. The falling off has been in number ; there has not been 
much difference in size. The 4-inch crabs at Newbiggin go two for one. The 
merchants sometimes complain, especially in Manchester, that the size of crabs 
is small. In Manchester, as a rule, crabs fetch 16s. to 18s. a barrel, which 
contains three score. The little crabs come chiefly in May. Some of the small 
4-inch crabs are very heavy crabs, and are good food. Thinks a 4-inch gauge 
for crabs would do. Knows what a soft crab, or, as it is here called, a caster, 
is, but his men do not take them. They do not bring them ashore. They 
get fewer lobsters than they did, but believes that as many lobsters are caught 
as ever. Owing, however, to the increased number of boats, each boat does 



37 

not get so many. The price of lobsters varies. A small 4-inch lobster will. LOBSTERS 

sometimes bring 6d., sometimes Is. 6d. ; the average price will be about 10c?. — 

Thinks that all lobsters below 4 inches in the barrel should be put back. Gauge. 

There is a greater demand for berried hens than for anything else. The berries 

are made into sauce. Is in favour of a close season in June, July, August, Close time. 

and September. Thinks that this is the principal breeding season. In 

September many of the lobsters are soft in the shell and body. These probably soft. 

have lately shed their shells and are recovering. Lobsters have been thrown 

away 50 at a time in September, because they were so soft both in shell and 

body. 

Joseph Brunton {examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Cullercoats. Was 
fishing for six years before he went to sea. This was from 54 to 48 years ago. 
Recommenced fishing in 1839, and has done so ever since. Fifty-four years ago 
pots were not used. Nothing was used at that time but trunk nets (iron Trunks. 
rings, 21 inches in diameter, with a net attached to them) ; these could only be 
fished in very shallow water. Used to carry 16 to 18 trunk nets per boat, and 
in a day would sometimes catch six or seven score crabs (30 to a score), and 
perhaps a score of lobsters (20 full-sized lobsters to the score). In those days 
never fished before May, and went on till July. Knocked off at that time, and 
went to the herring fishing. After the herring season was over, in September, Herring fishing. 
resumed the lobster fishing and went on till Christmas. After Christmas went 
line-fishing till May. When he recommenced fishing, in 1839, the system was 
the same as when he stopped. Four or five years afterwards pots, or creels, 
were introduced. The fishing season now begins in the early part of April and 
goes on till July; is resumed sometimes in September, but there is very 
little autumn fishing. There is less fishing than there was then, but 
there are a great many more boats. When first he went fishing there were Boats. 
only 15 boats for all kinds of fishing out of Cullercoats ; there are now 42. 
Crabs and lobsters are a great deal scarcer now than when he was a lad. Decrease. 
Thinks that too many are caught. Agrees with previous witnesses. Is in 
favour of a close season, commencing on 1st July and ending 30th September, close time. 
Is in favour of a 4-inch gauge for crabs, and a 4-inch barrel-gauge for lobsters. Gauge. 
Thinks that the coast-guard might enforce the close season. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) The crab pots are baited with small fish, — codlings, CRABS. 
whiting, &c. Edible crabs are never used as bait for the lines, they are too — 

valuable. A lobster prefers a stale bait, or even salted fish ; a crab a fresh bait. Bait. 
The pots are not shifted much, they are placed in about the same places 
always. One fleet of pots would be 90 to 100 feet from another. There 
are 900 to 1,000 pots altogether in 12 square miles of ground. Crabs and 
lobsters will get out of the pots. After storms or after daylight the pots are 
generally empty. Most of them are caught in the first of the morning before 
the daylight comes. The guns at Tynemouth do not affect the lobsters. 

William Armstrong {examined by Mr. Buckland). A fisherman of Hawx- LOBSTERS, 
ley. Has been fishing 50 years. Fishes off Hawxley and five miles north and 
south, and two miles out to sea. The bottom is very rocky. There are many 
places where there is only 7 fathom water on one side, and 15 fathom on 
the other side of the boat. There is a great deal of weed there. In 6 or 7 
fathom water there are weeds, but not in deeper water. The lobsters are among 
the weeds in some places, but not always. Thinks the lobsters feed on small Food of. 
fish, &c. among the weeds, and not on the weeds. There are 9 or 10 boats 
fishing for crabs and lobsters at Hawxley. In the winter each boat carries 30 
creels, in the summer they use 60 each. Will sometimes get 30 or 40 lobsters 
in a day per boat. There are as many crabs and lobsters as there were 15 -ZVb decrease. 
years ago. Does not think that they are diminishing in number on his ground. 
There is a great deal of ground ; sometimes is able to shift the pots five or 
six miles north and south. A full-size lobster is 4-*- inches in the barrel, below 
4 inches in the barrel four lobsters go for one. Thinks it is impossible to over- 
fish the place in the present way. Out of nine boats on the ground, only two 
are fishing in the winter, the others are on the herring fishing. Is, however, in Close time. 
favour of a close season, and has consulted the fishermen on the point. The 
Hawxley fishermen would like a close season for crabs from 1st July to 31st 
January. The lobster close season should also commence on 1st July and end 
on 30th September. That is the time when lobsters are at their worst. Thinks 
such a close season will improve the winter fishing. Fishes crabs and 



38 



CRABS. 

Gauge. 

Soft. 
Migration. 



LOBSTERS. 

Xo decrease. 
Pollutions. 



Salmon fishing. 



Trawling. 



Gauae. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 
Casting shell. 

Berried. 



Breeding. 
Enemies. 



lobsters in from 1 to 15 fathom water. Has always been in the habit of 
returning nmall crabs. Is in favour of a 4-inch gauge. If the small crabs are 
taken off the ground they cannot be on it. They would grow if they were put 
back. Does not think that there is a breed of small crabs that does not grow. 
There are not many crabs bigger than 8 or 9 inches. Catches many soft 
crabs with very thin shells about this season of the year (November). Puts 
them back into the sea. In February gets no soft crabs. The soft crabs 
(he believes) bury themselves in sand in the winter. They go into very deep 
water in the winter, especially in the cold weather. The crab and lobster 
season depends very much on the weather. Crabs and lobsters will not crawl 
in hard frosty weather. His shell fish all go to Mr. Brown, of Newcastle. The 
price has increased. 

William Lisle {examined by Mr. Walpole). A fisherman at Cullercoats. 
Has been so for 30 years. Has heard the evidence offered to-day. Agrees 
that the crabs are falling off in size and numbers. There has been no 
particular decrease in lobsters. Thinks that the hoppers carrying out the 
results of the dredging boats on the Tyne bring out a great deal of stuff 
which fills up the holes in which the crabs live. The hoppers are bound 
to go three miles out — to 18 -fathom water. The crabs are caught from the 
shore to 18-fathom water. Thinks that the clay, &c. from the hoppers both 
settles when it is deposited and is also washed on to the ground. North and 
south of the bar used to be the rockiest part. When the haddock lines were 
shot, many were lost because of the rough rocks. Now none are lost, and 
this shows that the bottom is all smooth. This rocky place was seaward of 
the piers, and the current there is as strong as ever. In his judgment the 
holes in which the crabs live have been filled up, and consequently fewer 
crabs are bred. Lobsters, as a fact, live in holes quite as much as crabs, but 
the lobsters have not decreased. Many of these hoppers come from the alkali 
works, and he thinks it possible they may also poison the small fish on which 
the crabs and lobsters feed. Does not believe that the ground can be over- 
fished. Believes that it is useless to begin fishing before April, and that after 
April you can only fish three months, and that it is then impossible to 
clear the ground. Moreover the hang nets for salmon have interfered with the 
tackle of the crabber, and so has limited the fishing. In consequence the 
fishing for crabs and lobsters has decreased during the last few years. If the 
decrease had resulted from over-fishing, the fish ought therefore to have 
increased, and notwithstanding they have continued to decline. The salmon 
fishing does not interfere with the autumn fishing ; but there is very little 
autumn fishing, and that only for lobsters. The portion of ground which 
has been silted up was both crab and lobster ground. The deep-sea 
trawlers trawl up large numbers of crabs. Many of them in September and 
October are casters, i.e. soft crabs. These are killed in large quantities, and 
many are also brought ashore. These trawlers are about six miles out. They 
go over a great extent of ground. Thinks it possible that they may be doing 
some mischief. In the autumn, while fishing for lobsters, the fishermen get 
any amount of soft crabs. They are tossed overboard, — in his opinion 
they live. Is not in favour of a statutory close season. Is in favour of 
returning to the sea all lobsters below 4 inches in the barrel, and all crabs 
below 4 inches across the back. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) It is useless to set the pots before April; if they did, 
would catch nothing but whelks. The crabs are in the best condition for 
market in May. After June they go off in condition, they cast their shells in 
about August, and in October they draw off into deeper water. This is the 
time at which the trawlers catch them. It is the custom to put back all 
berried crabs. The fishing, however, has not increased through the berried 
hen crabs having been put back. Does not think that putting back the little 
crabs would increase the size of the crabs. Thinks that the crabs procreate 
when the females cast their shells. The male crab is always then guarding 
the female. Has himself seen this. All fish, especially cod, eat crabs. 

George Simpson (examined by Mr. Buckland). Lives at Hawxley. Has fished 
for 36 years. Has heard Mr. Armstrong's evidence, and agrees with it. Uses 30 
pots per boat at this time, and 60 in the summer. Begins fishing for lobsters 
in October and goes on till June. The pots are constantly down except in 
stormy weather. Thinks the lobsters are just as thick as they were the first 



89 

day he went to sea. A 4 lb. lobster is a good lobster. This would be about LOBSTERS. 
8 inches in the barrel. The average are about lib. in weight and about 4^ tf decrease. 
inches in the barrel. Lobsters below 4 inches in the barrel go four for one, 
and are very small then. Would be in favour of a law compelling the return 
of all these. The Hawxley fishermen generally are in favour of this. Crabs Gauge. 
and lobsters both resort to rocky ground, the harder the rock the better for 
lobsters, and the best crabs also resort to hard rocks. Attributes the non- 
decrease of the Hawxley fishery to returning the small fish and keeping a 
close season. It has been the custom at Hawxley, all his time, to return all CRABS, 
crabs under 4 inches, and, till the last five or six years, all lobsters under 
4 inches. They stop fishing at Hawxley at the end of June, and resume at the Gauge. 
beginning of October. They begin fishing at the end of October and go Close time. 
on till June. There are many more boats fishing the Cullercoats than the 
Hawxley ground. 

Thomas Oliver {examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Hawxley. Has 
been fishing for 26 years. Heard Mr. Armstrong's and Mr. Brunton's 
evidence ; agrees with it. Is in favour of a close season for crabs and lobsters, Close time. 
from the 1st June to the 30th September. Is in favour of returning small Cauge. 
crabs and lobsters. Agrees that the gauge should be 4 inches in the barrel for LOBSTERS, 
lobsters, and 4 inches across the back for crabs. Has been in the habit of re- Gauge. 
turning all fish under these sizes at Hawxley, and there is no decrease at 
Hawxley. Was three years at Cullercoats before he went to Hawxley. Did not 
return the small fish at Cullercoats"; could get a market for them there. The 
Cullercoats ground is much harder fished than the Hawxley ground. The 
ground at Cullercoats is smaller, and there are many more fishermen upon it. 

Thomas Bolam {examined by Mr. Buckland). Of Cullercoats. Has been 
fishing for 22 years. There were more crabs and lobsters 22 years ago than Decrease. 
there are now. Agrees with Mr. Lisle that the ground has been much affected 
by the refuse tipped out from the hoppers, which has made rocky ground Pollutions. 
smooth ground. The area of the crab and lobster ground has been diminished, 
by the operations of the hoppers. The hoppers, when first they started (about 
1856), deposited the stuff close in shore. The Commissioners have since found 
it necessary to compel them to go further out. They have been at work about 
20 years. The nature of the ground has been altered. The hoppers have 
had the effect of extending the smooth ground, where it used to be rocky, for 
four miles out to sea from Cullercoats to the southward. Is in favour of a Close time. 
close season in July, August, and September, when the fish are soft and in 
spawn. Is also in favour of a 4-inch gauge for crabs, and a 4-inch barrel Gauge. 
gauge for lobsters. Thinks that the close season will be sufficient without a CRABS, 

law enforcing the return of berried hens. A berried hen always counts as a ' 

full fish, whatever size she may be. It was predicted when creels were intro- au ° e ' 
duced, 34 years ago, that they would not leave a crab or lobster. They had, 
however, no effect for some years ; but during the last eight years there has 
not been one sixth part of the crabs caught that used to be taken. Yet the Decrease. 
last year there are fewer crabs than ever. 

Increased fishing 34 years ago did not lead to any decrease offish. Decreased 
fishing during the last eight years has not led to any increase of fish. 

Andrew Taylor {examined by Mr. Walpole). Of Cullercoats. Has been 
fishing 40 years. • Agrees that crabs and lobsters have both decreased in 
numbers. Cannot say what the decrease is clue to. A close time might be 
tried, and is in favour of trying it. Is also in favour of putting back all small 
fish, as recommended by previous witnesses. Thinks the hoppers may have a 
tendency to destroy the ground. The rule that the stuff is not to be tipped 
in less than 18-fathom water is strictly carried out. The refuse from the Pollutions. 
alkali hoppers, known as Blue Billy, kills the codling ; has known it do so. 
Has known the water out at sea made offensive by the alkali refuse. 

George Harbottle {examined by Mr. Buckland). Inspector of Police, Tyne 
Salmon Conservancy. Is well acquainted with the mouth of the Tyne. Has 
been over it for the last seven years, many times from Newbiggin to Souter 
Point, and three miles out. Has heard previous evidence about hoppers. 
They work night and day all the year round, except in extremely strong weather. 
They go out when nothing but the best pilot boats will go. Has seen 14 
hoppers in view at the same time. The hoppers bring down a large quantity 
of dirt of all kinds from the bed of the river, and ship ballast ; a great quantity 



40 



Pollutions. 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Pollutions. 



of alkali refuse is also brought down by the private hoppers of the alkali 
owners. This is mostly Blue Billy, but there is a great deal of other refuse. 
The Tyne Navigation Commissioners alone have dredged 500,000 tons of 
rubbish a year. This has been going on for 20 years : 10,000,000 tons in all 
must therefore have been deposited in the sea outside the Tyne. Has no doubt 
that this deposit has filled up all the rocky ground at the mouth of the river, 
and made it smooth. The deposit is heavy, and is not carried far by the 
tide. Agrees with Mr. Lisle and Mr. Bolam that this deposit must spoil the 
habitat both for lobsters and crabs. 

Reverend R. F. Wheeler, Vicar of Cullercoats. Has been at Cullercoats 
15 years. Has taken a great interest in everything connected with the fisheries. 
First the white fishery, second the salmon fishery, third the crab and lobster 
fishery, are the chief industries at Cullercoats. Formerly the herring fishery 
was also important, but the herrings have ceased during the last four years. 
When he came to Cullercoats there were a great many more crabs taken than 
are now. The decrease has been both in size and number. Is doubtful as 
to cause of decrease, but is in favour of restrictions on taking immature fish, 
and of a legal close season. Attaches importance to the refuse from the 
hoppers, and especially to the polluted refuse. 



Justices' Room, Whitby, Friday, 17th November 1876. 



Decrease. 

Diode of 

counting. 



Gauge. 



Diode of 
counting. 



LOBSTERS. 

Decreased size. 

Mode of 

ting. 

Berried. 



rauge. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Thomas Smales (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a fish merchant at 
Whitby for over 20 years. Deals in crabs and lobsters and all other fish. 
Crabs have undoubtedly decreased both in size and number. It is an unusual 
thing to measure crabs in this neighbourhood. Above a certain size, however, 
crabs are considered " tale " crabs ; below that size they would go two for one. 
A 5-inch crab would be a good " tale " crab. A 4-inch crab would go two for 
one. Very small crabs, however, are also brought into the harbour. Many of 
these are less than 3 inches. These very small crabs are sold among children 
for about a halfpenny or penny a piece. A 5-inch crab would be worth 6d. 
The small halfpenny crabs, he has no doubt, would grow into 5-inch crabs in 
time, but doesn't know how long this would take. As a dealer, would have 
nothing under 5-inch crabs, but this would be hard on the fishermen. The 
chief market is in London, but the crabs also go to Stockton, Darlington, 
Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, &c, and are hawked about. Even the fishermen 
prefer the larger crabs. Crabs, however, are not usually sold now by count, 
but by kits. A kit is a wooden package, holding a score of good crabs. 
The women put the big crabs on the top of the kits. Small crabs and she 
crabs go two for one. Soft crabs, so far as he knows, are never brought ashore. 
There are more fishermen for crabs than there used to be, and the extra number 
of fishermen keeps up the aggregate take, though individual fishermen do not 
get so many. The fishermen here only fish for crabs in the spring of the year. 
At this time (November) they fish for a few lobsters, but not for crabs. In 
his opinion, thinks that there is no necessity for a close season, there being a 
natural close season. 

The lobsters have certainly fallen off, but the falling off is in size and not in 
number. A sizeable lobster is 4^- inches in the barrel. All below that size go 
two for one. The fishermen call the very small ones Nintycocks, or Nancies, 
and they go two for one. These Nintycocks would measure below three inches 
in the barrel. The very small lobsters are of very little use. Would rather 
not have them. Gets berried hens. There is a premium, he is sorry to say, 
for these, as they are much sought after, the berries being used for sauce for 
tnrbot. It would handicap the fishing to a very great extent to put back the 
berried hens. The berried hens are being taken all through the spring. Very 
few are taken in the back part of the season. It would be a good thing to 
return all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel. A full-size lobster used to be 



41 

6d., Id., or Sd. each. They now fetch about 9d. each. The small lobsters do LOBSTERS. 

not make more than 3c?. or 4c?. each. Has had soft lobsters. It is very rare to Pr - Ce 

get any "light" lobsters. A few lobsters are caught at Christmas time, but 

there is very little fishing at that time. Has seen some very large lobsters 

here, some weighing 31bs. A 3-lb. lobster is a very large lobster here. 

The method of catching crabs and lobsters is different from what it used to be. 

They used to be caught in trunks (rings with nets), they are now caught in Rin v s - 

pots or creels. The pots were introduced about 20 years ago. The trunks 

required the constant presence of a fisherman, and could only be fished at 

night. The pots can be fished without the attendance of man. 

Crabs, 20 years ago, were 2s. 6d. a score. Has paid 5s. a score himself for 
them this season. The- railway came to Whitby in 1847, but it was made to Railways. 
Pickering in 1835. Before even those days lobsters were carried by coach to 
York. The price of all fish went up after the railway was made. 

William Readman (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Whitby. A jet- 
worker by trade, but has been fishing for crabs and lobsters 1 1 years. Begins 
fishing towards the end of March, and generally ends fishing about the 6th 
July. Doesn't resume fishing till the following March. This is the usual season. 
practice of all the boats. Two old men only go out in October for a week or 
two to catch lobsters. There are about 20 boats at Whitby fishing for crabs 
and lobsters. They go about 4 miles north, 3^ miles south, and a mile out 
to sea. The ground is all rocky. A mile out there is 12 to 13 fathoms water. 
Stops fishing in July because after that the crabs are soft. Doesn't fish before CRABS. 

March because the weather is too uncertain. The crabs are not so numerous 

as they were 11 years ago. The fishermen get less than they used to do. Used, decrease. 
11 vears ago, to get regularly four or five score taleable crabs a day. Now it is a 
very good day's work to get four or five score. The average take is about three 
score. There are, however, more boats now than there were then. There were Boats. 
14 or 15 boats 11 years ago. Thinks that there are fewer crabs in the sea than 
there were. Thinks the decrease is due to the Scarborough men, who come 
and fish the ground and take so many small crabs. The Scarborough men fish 
the same season as the Whitby men. The Whitby men would have taken no 
small crabs if the Scarborough men had not started it. Is in favour of stopping 
the taking of all small crabs. By a small crab means a crab measuring 3 
inches across the back. A 3i-inch crab should be taken. If these couldn't be Gauge. 
taken it would be very little use for the fishermen to go out crabbing. A 
3i-inch crab could not grow into a 4-inch crab in one year. Is in favour of a 
gauge compelling the return of all crabs under 3| inches. 

Thinks lobsters are also decreasing. There are not so many caught as used LOBSTERS, 
to be. Thinks the decrease in the lobster is due to taking the small ones. j) ec rease. 
Thinks that no lobster under 3^ inches in the barrel should be taken. A Gauge. 
lobster above this is a good half-sized lobster. It is not necessary to have a 
close season as there is one naturally. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The 6th July is the customary date for stopping. 
James Fell (examined by Mr. Buckland.) Lives at Staithes, the largest CRABS. 
fishing town in the North of England. The population of Staithes is about 
2,000, and there are more than 150 fishermen there. Fishes for herring, cod, 
lino-, halibut, &c, and shell fish. There is no trawling there. Has been fishing 
for crabs for 50 years. Used at that time sometimes very nearly to load the boat Decrease. 
with crabs and lobsters. It wouldn't be possible to load the boat with them 
now. Would do well if they took a quarter of the number they took then. 
Their "round extends six miles north, and three miles south of Staithes, and 
one mile out to sea. The bottom of the ground is hard rock. There are some 
places where there is sand, but they don't fish there as they get soft crabs and 
dog crabs which they don't want. His crabs are sold at Staithes and also at 
Grosmont, 11 miles off, where they go all over England, especially to London. 
Has caught crabs 40 or 50 years ago, and sold them for 2s. a score. Gets now 
5s. a score. There are 35 boats at Staithes (each with two men) fishing for Boats. 
crabs and lobsters. Most boats carry 60 creels or over 2,000 creels altogether. 
Has found 14 to 15 crabs in one creel. The creels are kept all night in cne 
place ; but are shifted from place to place during the day. There are creels 
all over the ground. The crabs come in from the deep water. They come 
some years in March, some in April, but this depends on the weather. They Migration. 
crawl best in April and May. The cock and hen crabs come together, A few 






42 



CRABS. 
Berried. 
Gauge. 

Boiling. 
Close time. 

Used for bait. 



Rings. 
Weather. 

LOBSTERS. 



Berried. 
Gauge. 



Decrease. 
Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 
Decrease. 



Gauge. 
Berried. 



Close time. 

LOBSTERS. 
Berried. 



CRABS. 

Gauge. 



doup crabs or spawn crabs are caught at all times. They are boiled with the 
others. Is in favour of returning these to the sea; but this is not the habit 
at Staithes. The fishermen would agree, however, to do so. Is in favour of 
returning all crabs under 3^ inches to the sea. Many crabs are taken great deal 
smaller than that, as small as 2\ inches. The small crabs are given to the 
children, who eat them. The crabs are not boiled before they are sent to market. 
There is a natural close season, as the only fishing is from the middle of March 
to the 6th July. It doesn't pay to go crabbing in the winter. They get solitary 
crabs in winter on their lines and they are always big. At Staithes they do not 
use crabs for bait. But they do use them at Runswick as bait for cod which 
are again cut up as bait for the crab pots. Thinks the Runswick men would 
agree with the Staithes men. Lobsters have been falling off gradually for the 
last 50 years. Thinks that the decrease is due to over-fishing. Fifty years ago 
they used to fish with trunks, iron rings, 21 inches in diameter. The trunks 
were fished in 10 fathoms water, and each boat put down from 30 to 40 trunks. 
Thick water in day time and clear water at night was the best time for fishing. 
The moon makes very little difference. Fifty years ago there were from 15 
to 20 boats fishing with rings. Is in favour of returning all small lobsters to 
the sea. Would return all lobsters under 3-| inches in the barrel. It would 
be hard to the fishermen to return all berried hens, though their return would 
do good to the fishermen. 

Richard Thompson [examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Staithes. Has 
been a fishermen for nearly 20 years. Has heard Mr. Fell's evidence. Agrees 
that the crabs have fallen off in numbers. When first he went crabbing got 
from 13 to 15 score a night. It would be good now to get three or four score. 
Thinks decrease is due to over-fishing. When he began there were 15 or 16 
boats, and there are now 35. Agrees also that lobsters has decreased in the 
same way. This decrease is also due to over-fishing. Thinks it ought to be 
illegal to take either small crabs or small logsters. If this is not under law 
there will be none to take. No crab ought to be taken under 4 inches, and 
no lobster under 4 inches in the barrel. A full-sized lobster is 4^ inches, a 
half-size lobster is 4 inches. 

Jameson Colley {examined by Mr. BucMand). Lives at Whitby. Fishes 
between Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay, about five miles distant. Has been 
fishing 10 or 12 years. The crabs are falling off a good bit, especially during 
the last two or three years. They are falling off both in size and number. The 
ordinary run of crabs are 4 or 5 inches across the back. The largest are 
6 or 7 inches, this is an extra size. Is in favour of returning all the small 
crabs (under 3j inches) to the sea. A 3|-inch crab is worth a penny. They 
generally return berried crabs to the sea. They may catch four or five a week. 
The fishing begins in February, March, and April, and goes on to the middle 
of July. This is the custom, and the fishermen consider that the crabs then 
cast their shells and are soft. It is the practice here to heave back small 
crabs, and this should always be done. No close time is necessary here. There 
is practically a close season already. If he had his way, would heave all the 
berried lobsters overboard, so as to increase the stock. Knows that when he 
is heaving over berried hens he is heaving over hundreds and thousands of 
lobsters. But they are very tempting things, and, if such a law was made, the 
fish would be stripped of all berries. There are 40 or 50 crab and lobster 
fishermen at Whitby, and does not know how many would agree with him 
about this. Thinks no lobster under 3$ inches in the barrel should be taken. 

John Andrews (examined by Mr. Walpole). Has heard Mr. Colley's 
evidence. Crabs and lobsters have both fallen off. The small crabs and 
lobsters should be returned to the sea. Thinks a 4^-inch crab ought to be 
returned to the sea. A 4|-inch crab should be kept. 

(At this stage some sample crabs arrived, and Mr. Smales on comparing their 
sizes desired to add to his evidence and to recommend that nothing under 4% inches 
should be taken.) 

Richard Thompson, fisherman at Whitby. Has been fishing nearly 50 
years. Thinks that no crabs under 4 inches across the back or lobsters under 
4 inches in the barrel should be taken. 



43 
The Inn, Robin Hood's Bay, Friday, 17th November 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Isaac Storm (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a crab and lobster CRABS, 
fisherman for nearly 40 years. Used formerly to use rings ; left them off 26 
years ago, and now uses lobster pots. Crabs are more numerous than lobsters 
here. There are 12 to 14 boats here, with from 2 to 3 men each using from 
20 to 50 creels per boat. The ground extends three miles north, half way to 
Whitby; three miles south, and half a mile seawards. The ground is mostly 
rocky. The crabs are not so plentiful as they used to be. They have been Decrease. 
diminishing in number every year for. the last 20 years. Doesn't think that 
the crabs are smaller than they were. Most of the crabs are about 5 inches 
across the back. Is in favour of returning the smaller crabs to the sea. Any- Gauge. 
thing under 4i inches might be hove overboard. A 4^-inch crab is a market- 
able crab. Has always been in the habit of returning these. A 4-inch 
lobster is an ordinary sized lobster : 4 inches and 4^ inches are the two sizes 
for lobsters. Under 4\ inches in the barrel lobsters count two for one. Under 4 LOBSTERS, 
inches they ought to be returned to the sea. Has always been in the habit of Q auge ] 
returning berried crabs to the sea, but there are very few of them. Berried 
lobsters are found all the year round. It would not be possible to return 
them. The fishermen get no more money for a berried hen than for any other Berried. 
lobster. Has seen soft crabs here, but always gives up fishing before the soft 
crabs come in. The fishing commences in March, and ends at the end of July. 
No pots are set before February. The lobsters are not so numerous as they Decrease. 
were. The Scarborough people come on to the ground and take the small 
crabs ; thinks if it were made illegal to sell small crabs, the Scarborough 
men would catch the small crabs here, and heave them overboard at Scar- 
borough instead of at Whitby. Unless this is prevented, any legislation 
will do no good to Robin Hood's Bay. 

Isaac Storm (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Robin Hood's Bay. Is 
cousin to previous witness. Has been fishing ever since he was 14 years old; is 
now 52. Thirty-eight years ago only a few old men and young lads were fishing 
for crabs ; now there are 12 to 14 boats here. Thirty-eight years ago the Scar- 
borough boats never came here. Seven or eight boats were here from Scar- Boats. 
borough last year, but he has known as many as 20 here. Thirty-eight years 
ago used with trunks to get 10 or 11 score of saleable crabs a night. Wouldn't 
be able now to get more than six or seven score a night. Now they fish night 
and day. With trunks they could only go into 10 fathoms water ; now they 
fish in 20 fathoms water with pots. With the trunks used only to fish at 
night, unless the water was thick in the day. Thinks the fishery is over- Decrease. 
fished. Has the same story to tell of the lobsters. They are over-fished. Is 
in favour, as a remedy, of returning the small lobsters and the small crabs ; 
i.e., all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel, and all crabs under 4 inches across Gauge. 
the back. The small crabs are sweeter than the large crabs. Thinks that if CRABS, 
this were done, the fishery would be improved. The trawling smacks come in Gauge. 
about a mile from shore in the crab season and trawl up all the old breeders. Trawlers. 
This has the effect of destroying the old breeding crabs. Last summer they 
could catch 100 crabs in one night in the pots. The trawlers came on the 
rock's edge where the pots were set ; and after that the fishermen could not 
catch a score of crabs a night, and had in consequence to shift their ground. 
The trawlers caught all the crabs on that ground. There were 14 or 15 smacks. 
Thinks that all in-shore trawling should be prohibited. 

Matthew Cowper (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has fished for crabs in 
Robin Hood's Bay for 20 years. Puts down 40 pots. Fishes from the middle 
of April to the end of July. After that the crabs are mostly soft. Agrees Soft.' 
that the crabs have fallen off, and thinks that this is in consequence of there Decrease. 
being more men catching them. But believes the trawlers to be the greatest 
injury they have to encounter. Has seen 16 trawlers in the summer, day after 
day trawling for soles, whiting, and other fish. These trawlers work in about Trawlers. 
10 fathoms water. Thinks the trawlers destroy the food of the crabs ; and injure 
the nets for getting the crabs. The trawlers prevent the fishermen getting bait. 



44 



Trawling. 

CRABS. 
Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 
Trawling. 

Close time. 

Decrease. 
CRABS. 



Breeding. 
Soft. 

Trawling. 
LOBSTERS. 

Berried. 



They have to go to Stockton-on-Tees to get mussels for bait. Would like to 
stop in-shore trawling during the crab season, i.e., from April to July. Agrees 
that all crabs under 4 inches, and all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel 
should be put back. The price of crabs is 3s. a score, and when he began was 
only 2s. 6d. A 6^-inch crab here is a big crab. Believes that the ground is 
over-fished. 

Harrison Cowper. Is previous witness's brother. Commenced crabbing 
in 1837. There were twice as many crabs in the sea then as there are now. 
Thinks they have been over-fished. The lobsters were also twice as numerous. 
They have also been over-fished. Agrees with previous witness to throw 
back all crabs under 4 inches, and all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel. 
This would increase the breed. Thinks the trawlers do a good deal of injury. 
In-shore trawling should be prohibited, in his opinion. The trawlers could go 
further over. There are no trawlers in the winter months. Complains that the 
Scarborough men come and put their pots on the top of the Robin Hood's 
Bay men's pots. 

There would be a difficulty in carrying out a gauge on account of the hurry 
in packing for the train. Is in favour of a close season for crabs and lobsters 
during August and September. 

Benjamin Grainger, shipowner and insurance agent. Has lived all his 
life at Robin Hood's Bay. Knows of his own knowledge that the crabs and 
lobsters were more plentiful than they are. The decrease is due to the trawlers 
and to taking too small fish. Agrees with the sizes mentioned by the preceding 
witnesses. No crab should be taken under 4 inches, and no lobster under 
A\ inches in the barrel. A good few fishermen come down from Scarborough 
to fish in Robin Hood's Bay. They cannot be stopped. The very small crabs 
are always sweet. They are so small that they are of very little value. Believes 
that the north cheek of Robin Hood's Bay is the best breeding place for 
crabs on the north-east coast. The soft crabs are never sent away from here. 
The fishermen never bring them ashore. Is in favour of prohibiting in-shore 
trawling, which, in his opinion, does injury to all fish. It would increase the 
number of lobsters to put back the berried hens. But cannot say whether 
this should be done. Sometimes out of 100 brought ashore 10 will be 
berried. 



Council Chamber, Town Hall, Scarborough, Saturday, 
18th November 1876. 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Gauge. 



Berried. 
Soft. 



Boiling. 



LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

James Harrison Sellers, fish merchant, Scarborough {examined by 
Mr. Buckland). Has lived 56 years in Scarborough. Deais in crabs and lobsters, 
and sends them to London, 'Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, &c. Crabs have 
diminished since he commenced business, both in size and number. The 
diminution began five or six years ago. Thinks that a 4-inch or 4^-inch crab 
should be a size crab. A 6-inch crab here is a good crab. Thinks that no 
crab under 4| inches should be taken. Berne d crabs are brought into 
Scarborough at different times of the year. These also ought to be returned 
to the water. Berried crabs fetch more money than the female crabs without 
berries. Many soft crabs are taken in the trawl nets from October to March, 
and in July and August. One out of four of these soft crabs are not saleable 
and not eatable. Is in favour of returning them to the water. There is no 
difficulty in distinguishing between a light crab and a full crab, even in the 
water. The crabs are put into cold water and gradually boiled. They die long 
before the water boils as they are drowned, not being able to live long in fresh 
water. If they are put into hot water they cast their claws. 

Lobsters are falling off, both in size and number. The diminution began 
five or six years ago. A lobster 4| inches in the barrel counts as a full 
lobster. Below this they go two for one, and below 4 inches (or thereabouts) 



45 

they go four for one. These are called polks. Thinks that everything under LOBSTERS. 
4 inches in the barrel should be put back into the water. The lobsters usually 
increase in price by about Is. a piece in August and September. The prices ( :,"'.'["' ■ 
for lobsters are much higher in January and February, than in the summer 
months. The best lobsters are got in January and February. Berried hens Berried. 
are chiefly caught in May, June, and July. Female hens with berries are called 
berried hens; without berries are called "open hens." Is in favour of return- 
ing berried hens to the sea, but they are more valuable than the others. 
Notwithstanding this, is in favour of returning them to the sea. Taking them 
has a tendency to spoil the breed. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) Proposes a gauge for crabs of 4i inches. The North- CRABS, 
east coast crabs are not so large as Torquay and Scotch crabs, and for this Q mge \ 
reason Torquay and Scotch fishermen desire a larger gauge. The crabs 
increase in size to the north of this place. The crabs are sold within the 
surrounding neighbourhood. It would interfere with his market if the sale of 
these crabs were localised in Yorkshire, as a considerable number of small 
crabs are sent to London, Liverpool, and Birmingham. Thinks it would be 
impossible to get a sale for all these small crabs in Yorkshire. The 4|-inch 
gauge would suit Leeds market. Sends four times as many crabs and lobsters 
to London as are sold in the local markets. Yorkshire is not large enough to 
take all the crabs caught under A\ inches, 

James Dalton [examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman for 
50 years. Has been fishing for crabs and lobsters all that time. Fifty years 
ago there were not half a dozen boats crabbing from Scarborough. There are Boats. 
50 boats now. Fifty years ago used to take 30 trunks per boat. Now takes 
birdcages or creels, and carries 35 to 40 in his boat. Some boats, however, take 
100 creels. Fifty years ago used to commence in March, and go on to October. 
The fishing season is the same now. Used to get more biggish crabs in a 
trunk than he has ever had in a creel. There are fewer crabs in the sea than Decrease. 
there were — a good deal fewer. The lobsters are also fewer. Has had in the 
old time 100 of a night. It would take three or four nights to get half 
as many now. There is crab and lobster ground all the way from Filey 
Brigg to Whitby. Thinks the decrease of crabs and lobsters is due to taking 
the small ones. Has seen crabs taken as small as walnuts. {A 4k-inch crab 
was produced.) Considers it too small. A 4^-inch crab is a decent crab, and 
would do. Thinks that no lobster should be taken under 4 inches in the LOBSTERS, 
barrel. Has seen the trawlers bring ashore she crabs full of spawn. These Q auae 
she crabs are caught on the off ground. It should be made illegal for anyone 
to bring ashore a she crab with spawn. Is in favour of returning all the 
berried lobsters to the sea. Thinks that with such a law there might be a 
danger of the berries being stripped off the lobster. Doesn't see many light Berried. 
crabs in the market. Is in favour of prohibiting the sale of all light crabs. CRABS. 
Is not in favour of a close season for crabs. ^ ~ 

George Nightingale {examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been fishing for 
crabs and lobsters for 40 or 50 years. Fishes 7 miles to the south, and 14 to 
the north of Scarborough Light, from Filey Brigg to Runswick, and from 
500 to 600 yards out to sea. Men go three or four miles out. The bottom is 
all rock with sands adjoining. Uses 60 to 70 pots, but believes that there are 
too many. The 70 pots will cover three quarters of a mile of ground. Fishing 
commences at the end of March, and goes on till Martinmas. Has caught 
some very large crabs here. Now they are caught Sundays and holidays. 
With the hoops or rings the fishermen were obliged to be present, and there 
was no Sunday fishing. The creels go down in March, and never come up 
any more, except to be baited and fished.- Never breaks up crabs for bait. 
Believes that the crabs spawn out at sea. Has seen small crabs as small as an Pots. 
inch. The crabs have fallen off one third or more. If they went with hoops 
as they used to they would not catch so many. Would like to make a law 
that no boat should carry more than 40 or 45 pots. There were only three or 
four boats here when he was a young man. There are now at least 50. The 
pots are occasionally shifted, but very slightly. Thinks that a ground can be 
over-fished. The trawlers bring in the she crabs all through the year. The Trawlers. 
young crabs are very white, the old crabs yellow or black. The Scarborough 
men come and place their pots on the Robin Hood's Bay ground. No 
crabs should be caught under 4i inches ; at that size they would be worth a Gauge. 



4G 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 
Berried. 



Enemies. 



Pots. 



Decrease. 

Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 
Soft. 

LOBSTERS. 

Berried. 
Trawling. 



Gauge. 

CRABS. 
Decrease. 

Bait for. 



Spawning. 
Migration. 
Gauge. 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



CRABS. 



Soft. 



Breeding. 



penny. There is a trade for them at many places. No close season is wanted 
for either crabs or lobsters. They are never fished during the winter. Thinks 
that all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel should be returned to the sea. 
The berried hens should also be returned to the sea. The fishermen, however, 
get more for the berried hens than for the other lobsters. There are a great 
many contrary people at Scarborough who would not agree to put back the 
berried hens unless there was a law compelling them to do so. 

Cod are the natural enemies of lobsters. Has seen lobsters as well as crabs 
inside the cod, especially at this time of the year (November). The crabs 
begin to sand up in the cold weather, and at that time the trawlers can't get 
them. The opening into the crab pots was only A\ inches till last year ; has 
now been reduced to 4 inches. 

George Marshall {examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman for 
43 years. Fishes for crabs and lobsters and all kinds of fish. Agrees with 
previous witnesses that crabs and lobsters are decreasing very much. The 
last 20 years the decrease has been more then one half. Believes that the 
quantity of fishermen makes the crabs and lobsters much scarcer, and cannot 
say whether there are fewer shell fish in the sea. Is in favour of returning all 
small crabs and lobsters to the sea. Thinks that no crabs should be taken 
under 4i inches, and that crabs under this size should be unsaleable every- 
where. Lobsters over 4i inches are fall-sized lobsters. Agrees that a lobster 
under 4 inches in the barrel is too small to be taken, and should be returned 
to the water. Is in favour of prohibiting the sale of all soft crabs. Those 
now found in the shops are caught by trawlers, off the Dogger, 45 miles out in 
33 to 37 fathom water. Is in favour of prohibiting the capture of berried 
crabs. Is also in favour of prohibiting capture and sale of berried lobsters. 
Thinks that no limit need be put on the amount of tackle each boat carries. 
Thinks that the in-shore trawling which the Robin Hood's Bay men complain 
of does harm to the fishery. Is a trawler himself. The in-shore trawling 
does destroy the small fish. In his opinion no crab should be taken under 
4\ inches, no lobsters should be taken under 4 inches in the barrel, no berried 
lobsters should be taken, no berried crabs should be taken, and no soft crabs 
should be taken. 

J. H. Sellers {recalled.) Produces old gauge for lobsters which one party 
has had in possession 60 years. Her father had it before her. It measures 
4\ inches, with a nick at 4 inches for the half lobster. This gauge was 
abandoned when lobsters were sold by auction 23 or 24 yea.rs ago. 

Robert Heritage {examined by Mr. BucMand). Has fished with crab pots 
for five years ; with trawls for 20 years. Fishes with pots from Filey Brigg to 
Sunderland. The crabs are fewer than they were. The crabs here are a 
different species from the Devonshire and Scotch crabs, and would never grow 
to the same size. Can't say what the cause of this difference of size is. A 
7-inch crab is a good crab on the Yorkshire coast. A crab will only eat fresh 
bait ; a lobster will eat stinking bait. Catches thousands of she crabs and he 
crabs from the 1st April to the end of June in the trawls. This is in water from 
3 to 20 fathoms deep. They are all carrying berries. This is on the ground 
from Texel to Heligoland. They are 4-inch to 5-inch crabs. In his opinion 
the crab always buries itself in the sand in winter. Is in favour of returning 
the small crabs under A\ inches. But this must apply to all England. There 
are as many crabs sent away from the Yorkshire pots as from all the rest of 
England. The great fishing places are Staithes, Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay, 
Scarborough, Filey, Flamboro', Bridlington, Hornsea, and Withernsea. As to 
lobsters, all the ninty-cocks ought to be returned to the sea. Nothing under 
a half-lobster (4 inches m the barrel) ought to be brought to market. Thinks 
the in-shore trawling does as much good as harm. It kills the little fish which 
become food for the big ones. The haddock and cod are not falling off in 
the deep water. Catches soft crabs at all times of the year in the trawls. 
As a rule they are thrown overboard, but sometimes brought ashore to make 
up bulk or by mistake. It would not harm the trawlers if they were compelled 
to return the soft crabs. 

Never catches he crabs on the Texel ground, but many hundred she crabs 
with the spawn under the apron. Thinks the she crabs migrate to the 
ground for breeding purposes. Thinks that the she crabs deposit their berries 
on the sand there. When the berrries are ripe he has seen the berries fall 



from a crab with a touch. They are deposited in the water and hatched there. CRA.BS. 
Knows of no other great breeding place for crabs in the North Sea nearer $ mw ~~ 
than Texel. Texel is 1(50 miles from Flamborough. If there had been another 
great breeding place nearer Yorkshire the trawlers would have been sure to have 
found it. In five years' experience never saw but one berried crab in the pots. 
Nevertheless, from April to June there more shes than hes in the pots. The 
crabs off the Dogger Bank are about 6 to 7 inches. They are chiefly she 
crabs. 

John W. Woodall, Alderman. Owner of a small steam yacht. Is an 
Oxford man. Was first-class in Natural Sciences. Associated with Mr. Gwyn 
Jeffries in Shetland dredging operations. Believes that the minimum temper- 
ature of the sea on the Yorksire coast in April and May is as low as any part 
of the "North Sea. 44° may be taken as the temperature. The temperature in Temperature. 
the summer is about 54°. Thinks that the temperature has the greatest 
influence on all sea animals. Does not believe that any legislation is necessary 
to stop in-shore trawling. There are many days when, owing to the wind, the 
smacks are unable to trawl. If it does any injury it is by destroying the small Trawling. 
fry. Thinks it desirable to put back all small crabs and lobsters. 

Captain Henry Mann {examined by Mr. Walpole). Is acquainted with 
the ground off Texel. Has trawled on it between April and July. At that 
time there are a great many berried crabs. Never saw a he crab there. There Breeding. 
are a great many crabs with shell spawn on them there. Off the westernmost 
part of the Texel there is a deal of ground. These breeding crabs are found 
also the whole way from the south of the Dogger Bank to the Dutch coast. 
They are not so plentiful to the north of the Dogger. Thinks that the crab 
deposits her berries in the water, and that it is immaterial whether it is on 
rocky ground or sandy ground. Has heard evidence about in-shore trawling. Traioling. 
Does not think it does the Robin Hood's Bay men, nor any person, any harm. 
No legislation ought to be thought of on such a subject. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Does not think that the destruction of fish by trawlers 
in-shore does harm. There are 100 fish killed now for one 25 years ago. There 
are just as many fish in the sea as ever. The in-shore trawling does not kill so 
many small fish as the deep-sea trawling. The deep-sea fish do not draw 
in-shore to spawn, and the spawn chiefly floats. 

William Walker. A fisherman for 16 years. Has heard previous 
evidence. Agrees with it and with the gauges recommended. 

William Purcell. Agrees with the gauges recommended by previous 
witnesses, and asks for protection. By protection, means a law to prevent sale 
of unsizeable crabs and lobsters. 

Thomas Thompson. A fisherman. Has been crabbing for seven years in 
Scotland, at Anstruther. Has seen both he and she crabs caught there. The Gauge observed. 
fishermen there made the rule to return small crabs, and did so, and the markets 
made the rule not to buy any crabs under 5 inches. This practice was carried 
out for 10 years. It proved beneficial, and there are more large crabs caught 
there than anywhere. It is 10 years since he left Anstruther, and the same 
thing has been going on since. This practice at Anstruther has increased the 
crabs in number. Mr. Gellatly, harbour-master, Anstruther, could give infor- 
mation. Thinks that the Anstruther precedent ought to be applied to Scar- 
borough. With regard to in-shore trawling, the in-shore trawlers do not kill so 
much fry as the deep-sea trawlers outside. 



Artillery Drill Shed, Flamborough, Monday, 20th November 

1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Panton Fell {examined by Mr. Walpole). A fisherman for 40 years at 
Flamborough. Has been fishing for crabs and lobsters. Fishes from Speeton 
Cliffs on the north to Sewerby on the south, six miles north and two miles 
south, and about half a mile seawards. When he began there were about 30 
boats at Flamborough; there are now about 70. All these boats go out crab- 
bing in the season. The crab season commences at the beginning of April and Season for 
40353. G 



48 



Hewing fishery 

CRABS. 
Decreased size. 



Gauge. 
LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 



CRABS. 



Soft. 



LOBSTERS. 



Berried. 
CRABS. 



Season for, 



Berried. 

Gauge. 

Soft. 
Pots. 

LOBSTERS. 
Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Weather. 

Gauge. 



continues till the middle of July, when the herring season commences. There is 
very little fishing in the back end of the year. Forty years ago the boats used 
to carry 24 trunks, in a boat; they use pots now — about 30 to 36 in a boat. 
The boats are small undecked boats. About 30 years ago the crabs fell off very 
much ; they could scarcely get any, and the fishermen were compelled to go to 
Filey for them. Since then they increased, and they have increased a good 
deal of late years. There are as many crabs now as when he was a lad, but 
they are smaller. When he was a lad, the crabs were sold by a gauge. The 
crabs above 4 inches were sold by the score. Smaller crabs were sold by the 
lump. The small crabs are more nnmerous than they were. The biggest 
crabs are off Flamborough Head; there is more length of rock there. The 
crabs at Bridlington and Speeton are falling off. Of the two, the crabs at 
Speeton are larger than those at Bridlington. The east winds destroy a great 
many crabs in Bridlington Bay. Fish also destroy a great many ; but taking the 
small ones, no doubt, increases the loss. All the fishermen admit that it is 
no use bringing the small crabs ashore. Is of opinion that it would be a good 
thing to return all crabs under 4 inches. 

Lobsters have been very scarce for many years. Some of the lobsters are 
large. They are larger than the Scarborough lobsters. Thinks a lobster- 
gauge would be a good thing. The smallest lobsters are no use. Doesn't 
want to say what the gauge should be. 

No soft crabs or lobsters are caught here. It would not hurt the fishermen 
here if no soft crabs were brought ashore. Berried crabs are not brought 
ashore here; but the smacks bring many ashore. Is in favour of stopping 
this. Berried lobsters are brought ashore. They, however, are the finest 
lobsters. Does not think this can be stopped. Berried lobsters come ashore 
at all times of the year. 

William Stevenson {examined by Mr. BucHand). Lives at Flamborough. 
Has fished for crabs aud lobsters for 20 years. Fishes where the preceding 
witness fishes. There are about 70 boats here, carrying 30 pots or thereabouts. 
The fishing ground embraces about 10 miles of coast. The bottom of the sea 
is rocky. The rocky ground is the best place for the crabs and lobsters. 
Can't say what the crabs feed on, Commences fishing about the beginning of 
April, and continues till about the middle of July. The crab-pots are down 
from one end of the season to the other, but are shifted occasionally from time 
to time. Thinks it would be possible to over-fish the ground, but doesn't 
think the fishery at present is in any danger. The fishermen return all the 
berried crabs, and think this is beneficial to the fishery. Has thrown four or 
five berried crabs back in a night. The berried crabs would be 5 inches and 
upwards. The largest are 7 inches. The berried crabs are mostly big crabs. 
Has no idea of the age of crabs. Thinks the crabs come in to spawn from the 
deep water. Is in favour of returning all crabs under 4 inches. Adheres to 
the opinion that everything ought to be kept above 4 inches. Soft crabs are 
always returned to the water ; would not object to a law compelling the return 
of soft crabs. Is in favour of this law applying also to the trawlers. The pipes 
in the pots, which the crabs enter, are 4J to 5 inches wide. Soft crabs are 
caught here, but he does not catch them himself. 

There are a few lobsters here. A full-sized lobster here is 4 5 to 5 inches ; 
3 to 4 inches is the average size. Is in favour of returning the small 
lobsters to the water. No gauge has been used at Flamborough for lobsters 
for 20 years. No lobster should be taken under 4 inches in the barrel. The 
berried hens are reckoned more valuable than any other. The buyers would 
give 6d. more for a berried hen than for any other lobster. The crabs crawl 
best in a nice ground swell after a storm. They call this a "crab swell." Does 
not require a close season. 

William Crowe (examined by Mr. WalpoJe). A farmer at Flamborough. 
Sent half a dozen small crabs to the House of Commons when he saw the 
Norfolk Bill in the House. The buyers asked him to come and say that no 
crab ought to be sold under 4| inches. They buy crabs of any size in the 
town ; they buy the fish in the season, and send them to all parts. There 
are about 10 or 12 of them at Flamborough, and they are unanimous in wish- 
ing no crab to be taken under 4\ inches. 

Samuel Chadwick (examined by Mr. BucHand). A fishbuyer at Flam- 
borough. Has been so for eight years. Buys crabs and lobsters. The crabs 



49 

have not fallen off during the eight years, either in size or quantity. Before he CRABS, 
was a buyer he was a fisherman. It is 35 years since he commenced fishing. At 
that time very few small crabs were caught. The small crabs were given to the 
boys for pocket money, and they could get 2d. to 3d. of a morning. Now the Trice. 
boats get nearly Ss. for small crabs, 3| to 4 inches long in a morning. Thinks 
that all crabs over 4 inches should be kept. The crabs which he buys are hawked Gauoe. 
in the country, and are not sent away to distant markets. The small crabs 
bought by the poor people. The population of Flamborough are two-thirds fish- 
ing and one-third agricultural. The crabs are hawked about among the agricul- 
tural class. Can always sell little crabs. A 3|-inch crab is worth a halfpenny 
in the beginning of the season; a 4-inch crab is worth a penny at any time. 
Does not agree in Mr. Crowe's recommendation that a 4^-inch gauge is 
advisable. 

Sells lobsters sometimes. Has sold them as small as 3 inches in the barrel. LOBSTERS. 
Thinks these ought to be returned to the water. They are worth 3c?. each, „ . 
but there is very little in them. Everything over 4 inches might be taken. Gauge. 
Is in favour of taking berried lobsters because they sell for so much money. Berried. 

William Stork {examined by Mr. Walpole). Is a fisherman. Has been so CRABS. 

40 years. Has heard previous evidence. The large crabs have decreased un- 

commonly, the small ones have not decreased. Is in favour of returning small 
crabs to the sea. A fisherman can only sell a 4-inch crab for three or four a 
penny. A 4|-inch crab is plenty small enough to be taken. When he was a Gauge. 
boy he took nothing under 4| inches. The smaller ones were given to the lads. 
But it would not be possible now to have a larger gauge than 4\ inches, as 
so many men are dependent on the crab fishing. 

Very small lobsters are brought home, but all under 4 inches in the barrel LOBSTERS, 
should be returned. Gauge 

When he was a boy he could get 100 large crabs in a night, of 5 inches and 
upwards. There are not now 20 large crabs to be had in a night. There are 
more small crabs and fewer big ones. The holes of the pots are 4| inches in Pots. 
diameter but stretch to 5| inches. 

Robert Emerson {examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a fisherman for 40 C RAB S, 
years. Is in favour of a 4-inch gauge for crabs. Thinks if the gauge is larger Gauge. 
than this there are many people in Flamborough who will be unable to get a 
living. There are about 70 boats crabbing at Flamborough. Thinks the crabs 
draw in from the deep water to the shore. The trawlers in Bridlington Bay come Migration. 
close in shore. They catch a good many crabs at times. Never in his life sold 
a soft crab. They are always returned to the sea. Is in favour of returning 
all berried crabs to the sea, but is not in favour of returning berried lobsters, Bemed- 
as they are very valuable. The population of Flamborough is 1,573, two- 
thirds of whom are dependent on fishing. 



Piers and Harbours Commissioners' Hoom, Bridlington Quay, 
Monday, 20th November 1876. 

Present: 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Spink Birds all {examined by Mr. Buckland). Fish merchant at Bridlington. 
Has been buying fish for nine years. Sends the fish to Hull, Nottingham, &c. 
The crabs are too small for London. Does not think that the crabs have fallen No decrease. 
off. Crabs in this place run very small. They consider a 4-inch crab a very 
good crab here. Two-thirds of the crabs here are less than four inches. A 
great many crabs under 3i inches are brought ashore here. The only markets 
for these crabs are at Hull and Nottingham. The Manchester, Liverpool, and 
London markets won't take these small crabs, and require a 5 or 6 inch crab. 
Is not in favour of killing crabs so small as 3 J inches. The crabs are sold by Gauge. 
the barrel. The price per barrel has not increased. Is in favour of returning 
all crabs under 4 inches. If the gauge were larger than this it would not pay 
the fishermen to go to sea. Believes that the crabs here are brood from 

G 2 



50 



CRABS. 



Soft. 



LOBSTERS. 



Berried. 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Gauge. 



Spawning. 



lobsters: 



Berried. 
Pots. 



Weather. 



Enemies. 
Boiling. 



Flamborough Head. Very seldom sells berried crabs. There is a market for 
them, but the men won't bring them ashore. Casted, soft, or light crabs are 
not taken here as a rule, they are returned to the sea. There would be a 
difficulty in enforcing the return of the small soft crabs, as they are shot by 
the basketful into the barrel. 

There are very few lobsters here. Some of the lobsters that do come are 
very large. Has had them weigh 5 or 6 lbs. The average size is 1 lb. or 
li lb- They are never gauged. A tale lobster is 4^ inches in the barrel ; 
below the tale they go two or three for one. They catch berried lobsters all 
through the year ; they are most numerous in the summer. The berried lob- 
sters are more valuable than the others. A berried lobster worth Is. 6d. after 
it had cast its berries would be worth Is. Does not think that a close season 
is necessary for crabs and lobsters. They both retire out to sea in the winter. 
John Warcop (examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman about 
48 years. Fishes at Bridlington, from Quay Pier to Flamborough Dyke. The 
boats seldom go to the south. From Quay Pier to Flamborough Dyke is 
about 3 miles. The bottom is chiefly rocky. The fishermen fish from 3 feet 
water to 5 fathoms. The 5 fathoms water is a mile out. Last year there 
were 15 or 16 boats fishing for shell-fish at Bridlington. The number is 
increasing. There is a good deal of weed on the bottom and patches of sand. 
Crabs are undoubtedly decreasing in number. Forty-eight years ago there 
were great quantities of crabs got. There are not half so many now. The 
smallest crabs are towards the Quay, the largest towards Flamborough. Forty- 
eight years ago the boats very seldom came this side of Southsea landing 
place to catch crabs. Now they come there and catch the small crabs. There 
are two causes for the decrease of crabs ; viz., 1. The increase of boats; 2. The 
capture of very small crabs. By the increase of boats means that the tale is 
divided among more men. The capture of very small crabs has resulted from 
fishing south of the Southsea landing place. Believes it would be beneficial 
to the public and the fishermen to have a limit of size for crabs. Three fisher- 
men last year had a gauge made of 4^ inches, and made an agreement to bring 
nothing under A\ ; they wanted to prevent the capture of all crabs under that 
size. Retains his opinion that an institution of such a gauge would be bene- 
ficial to the public and the fishermen Thinks that by this limit some 
immediate suffering may occur, but that future benefit will arise. 

The smallest crabs are towards the Quay. The water is shoal there, and the 
tide is easy, and this is a great nursery for crabs. Some years ago boats could 
go from here and get quantities of decent size crabs from 4| to 7 inches. They 
cannot do so now, and this is due to killing the small crabs and the seeded 
crabs. Some people throw away the seeded crabs here. Others take them. 
They are of very little value. It would be a great blessing to have a law 
saying that no one should catch a seeded crab. There are a few soft crabs 
killed here in August and September. They are full of water and good for 
nothing. There are not many catching them. The crab fishing commences in 
April and lasts eight weeks, and there is no crab fishing during the rest of 
the year. 

There are very few lobsters here. There would be no objection here to have 
a gauge for lobsters. It would be reasonable to say that no lobsters should be 
killed under 4 inches in the barrel. Would not think it unreasonable to pro- 
hibit the capture of berried lobsters. The fishermen in some cases might strip 
off the berries but could not do so without detection. Is in favour of a law 
prohibiting the capture of berried lobsters. 

(By Mr Buckland.) The number of pots carried by each boat varies from 
30 to 50. There are 15 to 16 boats. The pots are put at the bottom of the 
sea and left there. Thinks that the crabs bury themselves in the sand in the 
winter, and draw into shore as the spring comes on. Has seen crabs smaller 
than a shilling. There are thousands sent to market from here under 2\ inches 
and sold five and six for Id. Crabs are not broken up for bait here. The 
pots here are usually baited with plaice. The bait cannot be too fresh for 
crabs. Crabs crawl mostly after a storm. The pipe for the crab pots is from 
4| to 5 inches. If the fishermen were tied to the size of the crabs they would 
have to alter the mesh of the crab pots. Cod fish eat crabs, but do not do 
much harm to them. There are a great many crabs boiled here. They are put 
into cold water and gradually boiled, but are dead from drowning before the 



51 

water boils, but some are plunged at once into boiling water. The lobsters are CRABS, 
tied not plugged. 

James Scottar {examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a fisherman eight 
years at Bridlington. Before that was at Filey. Has been four years catching 
crabs. Catches them chiefly towards Flamborough. Thinks the crabs were bigger 
this year than in the three previous years. Heard Mr. Warcop's evidence. 
Thinks that to return the small crabs to the sea, would, after two or three years, 
be a benefit. During the years when the crabs were growing some of the men 
would not be able to keep their families. As a crab catcher, would like to stick 
to present plan. Has been some days getting 11. to 25s. a day for small crabs Price. 
and 7s. to 85. for big ones when there were no small ones. Would for his part 
have no gauge at all. Themale crabs are sold at 10s. a basket, and there are 
10 or 12 score a basket. Has many a night caught 300 little crabs. It would 
be a great advantage, after two or three years, to let the little orabs grow, but 
it would be a serious present injury. A 4-inch gauge would be plenty small 
enough. A man might get a living with a 4-inch gauge. Stops fishing before Gauge. 
-the crabs are soft. Some of the men go on later. Cannot say what the men 
catch. It ought to be illegal to catch soft crabs. Only sees an odd seeded Berried. 
crab by chance. Thinks that it ought to be illegal to take them. 

There are very few lobsters here. Only caught three last season. They LOB STE RS, 
were 5 to 6 inches in the barrel. Agrees with previous witness that no lobster Berried. 
should be taken under 4 iuches in the barrel. Thinks also that the berried Gauge. 
lobsters ought to be tossed overboard. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Cannot say why the crabs here are so small. An 8-inch CRABS, 
crab is a very big crab here. Very few of these are taken. Knows the Cromer 
fishery. It is 7 miles from Flamborough to Bridlington. Believes that the 
small crabs here are a distinct species. Thinks that a crab grows an inch a 
year. They grow an inch when they cast their shell. Believes they shed their Growth. 
shell once a year. A 4-inch crab is worth \d. A 5-inch crab is worth 2d. or 3d. 
The little 4-inch crabs are very sweet. The crabs are sold to the fish buyers. 
Sells the crabs also by hawking. 

Richard Bedlington (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been fishing for 
crabs for 20 years. Used to use trunks when he began. Twenty-four trunks Trunks. 
made a fleet. They required constant attention. They were set about 8 fathoms 
from each other and in 3 fathoms water, and were lifted 15 times a night. The 
crabs then were quite as small as they are now. Would get 20 small 3^-inch 
crabs for one big one. The crabs on this coast are small. There were six or 
seven years (15 years ago) when the men knocked off because the crabs were so 
small. The railway was used in 1843. Never fished for crabs before the 
railway was made. Before that the crabs were sent in carts to Hull and York, Baihoays. 
30 and 40 miles. The bottom is rocky, with clumps of clay. The crabs get 
into holes in the clay for the winter. Believes if the small crabs were spared, 
they would never grow into big ones. Can't say why the crabs are smaller 
here, but they are smaller. Thinks the gauge' or crabs should not exceed 
4 inches, but might do at 4| inches. Thousands would have to be thrown Gauge. 
away below this, and those would grow into 4h inches. Believes that the 
majority of the fishermen are in favour of a 4-inch gauge. Would himself 
advise A\. There are 40 fishermen. 

There are very few lobsters caught here. Has caught three this season, LOBSTERS. 

about 8 or 9 inches long. Is in favour of a gauge for lobsters, but can't say 

what the gauge should be. Thinks the ground here is too smooth for lobsters. auge - 

The bottom of the sea here is levellish rock. Round Flamborough Head there is 

a good lobster ground. Berried hens should all be put back into the sea. 

The proper way to restore the lobster fisheries is to return the berried hens. Berried. 

There should be a fine of 11. for taking them. There is no trawling on the rocky 

•ground where the crabs are. Believes a crab sheds its shell every year. There CRABS. 

are a good many dog crabs here. They come into the other crab pots. Every- So ^ 

bcdy puts back soft crabs, which are of no use to anyone. 

John Gibbon (examined by Mr. Walpole.) Has been a crab catcher 
28 years. The crabs were not so small in Bridlington Bay 28 years ago as they Decreased size. 
are now. They began to get small three or four years afterwards. There 
are more now on the ground than there were, but more little crabs are taken. 
Is in favour of stopping the capture of little crabs. Thinks a 4-inch gauge, Gauge. 
however, is big enough. If there were a 4 -inch gauge it would be no use 



52 



CRABS. 
Berried. 



Migration, 



going to catch them in April and May. Never took a berried crab in his life* 
Is in favour of a law compelling their return to the water. Very few people 
take soft crabs, and it ought to be illegal to take them. 

Has caught very few lobsters. Thinks that seeded lobsters ought not to be 
taken, and that no lobster under 4 inches in the barrel should be taken. 

In April and May the crabs are small; later on the larger crabs come in. 



Boats. 



Price, 



Soft. 
Berried. 

Gauge. 



LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 

Berried. 
Trawlers. 



Weather. 



CRABS. 



No decrease. 
Berried. 



Groicth. 
Bait, 



Coastguard Station, Hall Sands, Tor Cross, Tuesday, 
5th December 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

George Wells {examined by Mr. Walpole). A fisherman at Hall Sands for 
30 years. Has been fishing all the time for crabs and lobsters. The ground is 
off Hall Sands towards the Start, and off Prawle Point to the south of this place. 
This is about 10 or 12 miles long by 3 broad. There are about 30 boats at 
Hall Sands and Beeson Sands. The boats increase every year. There were 
not half so many boats 30 years ago. There is no lack of fish, but some 
seasons are better than others. The shell fish are sent to market, some by 
land to Dartmouth, and some by smacks. The price has increased very much. 
30 years ago it was 9s. a dozen, 12 crabs, 8 inches across the back, a dozen. 
The price now is 18s. a dozen. Lobsters are the same price. They fish all 
the year round if the weather permits. Was always in the habit himself of 
fishing all the year round. Used crab pots 30 years ago, and does so now. The 
boats carry from 30 to 40 pots. There are a large quantity of crabs caught 
now, but there are more fishermen to divide the take among. The crabs are as 
large as they used to be. The crabs at this time of the year are a little pithy. 
May catch soft crabs all the year round. The soft crabs are all hove away. Sees 
a few berried crabs. Those that are berried are in December. The berried 
crabs are mostly thrown overboard. Catches very few crabs below 5 inches. 
Is in favour of a law prohibiting sale of all crabs under 6 inches. Is in 
favour of a law for return of all soft crabs, and of all berried crabs. The 
crabs are berried in December here, and the soft crabs are in the spring of the 
year. 

This is not much of a lobster country, and the lobsters are not quite so 
plentiful as they were. Some seasons a good many are caught. The smallest 
lobsters taken here are 9 or 10 inches in length. A gauge would be no good 
here, because no small lobsters are caught. Takes some berried hens here in the 
spring and fall of the year. The fishermen can't spare the berried lobsters as 
most people are after them. It would not do to have a law of the return of 
berried lobsters. 

The Brixham trawlers come here and scrape away the pots and sweep every- 
thing before them. Thinks they do a great injury. Some of the crab gound 
is on the Sand where the trawlers come. Is in favour of prohibiting trawlers 
coming within the headlands. Would keep them out of the bay altogether. 
Has himself lost scores of pots from the trawlers. Lost some this year. Lost 
four or five last year. Has seen trawlers shoot their nets right among the 
pots, so they couldn't help cutting them away. 

William Hutchins, of Beeson Sands (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has 
been fishing 30 years. There are 16 boats at Beeson Sands, and about 16 here. 
They fish all the year round, but the weather stops them a good deal in the 
winter. The ground is about six miles long and three miles broad. The 
ground is all sandy. 

Does not think that the crabs have fallen off. Always returns the berried 
crabs. This has always been the custom. The largest crabs are 11 or 12 
inches across the back, and weighs 1 1 or 12 lbs. The crabs are better quality 
here than at the Land's End. The smallest crabs here are 6 inches, and none 
less than that ought to be taken. Thinks that a crab grows very quickly after 
it has cast its shell. Sees small crabs about an inch long, in the spring of the 
year. The pots are baited with ray and gurnard. The price has not increased 



53 

of late years. He sells his crabs to Mr. Scovell. Is in favour of returning all CRABS, 
crabs under 6 inches. The Beeson Sands men are all in favour of this. Gaune 

Would like to see some law prohibiting inshore trawling. They carry away Trawlers. 
the pots, and, in the fall of the year, they destroy a great many she crabs. Most 
of the soft crabs are in March, April, and May. The soft crabs here are called 
ripe crabs, and are caught all the year round. A male is always on the top of ^ r ^ e(iin (/- 
a ripe crab whenever she is caught. 

Thinks the trawlers should be prohibited from coming within the Beeson 
Sands, or within 3 miles of the shore. The trawlers take away sometimes 30 or 
40 pots a night. 

The biggest lobsters here are 5 or 6 lbs. All lobsters over 1 1 inches are LOBSTERS, 
measured lobsters. Below this all go two for one. The smallest lobsters here 
run from 9 to 10 inches. The ribs of the pots are 2 inches apart. Is not in 
favour of returning berried lobsters. Is not in favour of any close season. 



John Roper (examined by Mr. Walpole). The fishermen here are obliged Dogs. 
to keep dogs, because, when the wind is eastward, the dogs have to go from 
the shore to the boat with a line in their mouth to enable the boat to be hauled 
in through the surf, which is very heavy. There are three or four Newfoundland 
dogs kept in each village for this purpose. The dogs have to be trained for 
them. Thinks it a hardship that these dogs should be taxed, as they are 
really kept to save life. There are eight dogs altogether to attend to 30 boats. 



N.B. — A large number of fishermen were present; all were unanimously of CRABS, 
opinion that a law should Be made compelling the return of : — 

1. All crabs under 6 inches. 

2. All berried crabs. 

3. All soft crabs* 



The Union Inn, Prawie, Tuesday, 5th December 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Robert Phillips (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a fisherman for 
eight years. The ground extends about half a mile east of Prawie Point, and 
half a mile west of Prawie Point. Fishes for crabs and lobsters all the year 
round. There are five boats here, each boat carrying about 50 pots. The 
bottom is rocky and sandy. They fish in water from 20 fathoms deep. The 
crabs are scarcer than they used to be. Thinks the scarcity is due to catching Decrease. 
the she crabs in the fall of the year. The she crabs are spawning from Spawning. 
September to Christmas. Catches more he crabs than she crabs in the fall of 
the year. The she crabs are caught in the summer. Has seen crabs 8 inches 
across the shell. Below this they go two for one. There are more crabs above 
than below 8 inches. Thinks no crab ought to be taken below 6 inches. Gauge. 
Would be in favour of a law to this effect. Would be in favour of returning 
all she crabs during the last three months of the year. But this would not do 
in the summer. Catches light crabs in the summer, but they are hove over- 
board. The he crabs are hove overboard. The females are used as bait. A Used for bait. 
great many crabs are used as bait for bream. 

The lobsters are not so thick as they were. Thinks the decrease is due to LOBSTERS. 

killing all the berried hens, and is in favour of returning all the berried hens _ , 

in January, February, and March. Is in favour of returning all the smallest Berried.' 
lobsters. 

Richard Putt (examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman nearly 
50 years. When he began there were three boats, they increased afterwards to 
six. There are now five boats ; there have been as many as seven. Always fished 
with pots, as he does now. When he began used to begin in February or 
March, and knock off in September. There is seldom any fishing beyond 
September now. Cannot catch half so many crabs in the same quantity of 



54 



CRABS. 

Decrease. 
Close time. 

Migration. 
Berried. 

LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 
Berried. 

Traivlers. 



pots as lie could 50 years ago. The crabs are decreasing. This is due to over- 
fishing. Thinks no she crabs should be taken from Michaelmas to Lady-day. 
They draw into the shoal water to spawn. If this were done has no doubt 
it would improve the fishery. No crabs are taken here under 6 inches. The 
female crabs are taken between Michaelmas and Lady-day for bait. There 
would be no difficulty in getting other bait. About this time (December) the 
she crabs are berried ; they are berried in December, January, and February. 
In the spring no berried hens are seen. After the spring they see a great 
many soft crabs. 

There are not so many lobsters caught as there used to be. Since the French, 
began catching lobsters in France 30 years ago they have fallen off. Sees most 
berried lobsters in January, February, and March, and is in favour of pro- 
hibiting the capture of berried hens in these months. 

The trawlers destroy a great many she crabs in the winter months. The 
trawlers ought to be compelled to return these. Has no other complaint 
against the trawlers. No crabs now are sent from here to market under 
6 inches. Thousands of crabs are destroyed for bait all the year round. They 
are broken up as bait for the hooks, and is in favour of prohibiting this. They 
use them as bait for connors or wrasse. There are 10 fishermen here. Believes 
they all agree with this evidence. 



Hope and Anchor Inn, Hope, Tuesday, 5th December 1876. 



CRABS. 



No decrease. 



LOBSTERS. 

No decrease. 



Bait. 

CRABS. 

Food of. 
Migration. 



Gauge. 
LOBSTERS. 

Berried. 



Store pots. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Joseph Hargate {examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been fishing 35 years 
for crabs and lobsters. There are 12 to 14 boats here. Fishes from Bolt Tail 
to Bolt Head, nearly up to Salcombe Harbour, five miles from east to 
west, and in some places six miles out to sea. Begins fishing in March, and 
goes on till the middle of August. In the autumn goes on to the pilchards. 
There are as many crabs now as there were 35 years ago. Some of the crabs 
are very large. All above 8 inches count as one, and 8 inches they go two for 
one. The smallest crab they take is about 6 inches. There are very few taken 
under that size. They take no soft crabs, if they do, they heave them away. 
They never take any berried crabs. The crabs are sold to Mr. Locke of South- 
ampton, who sends smacks for them. There are as many lobsters now as 
there were 35 years ago. No law for lobsters is necessary. They never catch 
here any lobsters under 8 inches. 

William Thornton {examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been fishing for 
35 or 36 years for crabs and lobsters. They set about 50 pots per boat. Skate, 
ray, and connors (wrasse), are used for bait. The pots are set in March and 
taken up in the middle of August. The best time for catching crabs is after 
a ground swell. Thinks the crabs live by suction. After August there is not. 
a crab to be caught, and he thinks that they go and bury themselves. The 
trawlers catch the crabs all times of the year. The steamers do a deal of injury 
by cutting the strings of the crab pots with their screws and paddles. This is 
done accidentally. The bottom here is rocky. There is very little sand. The 
trawlers cannot work here. The pots are set in water from 13 fathoms to 
40 fathoms deep. After August, when they leave off crabbing, they go on to 
the other fish, and recommence crabbing in March. They never see a berried 
crab. They never catch any she crabs (Queens) until May. Is in favour of 
returning all crabs under 6 inches. Crabs here are never broken up for bait. 

The lobsters have not much decreased. Catches the berried lobsters all 
through the season. From May to June they catch very few lobsters, but catch 
more in July and August. The smallest lobster they can see is about 4 to 
6 inches. The gauge of the lobster is 11 inches. All below this go two for 
one. Those above 6 inches long are thrown overboard. The smacks would 
not take them. The lobsters and crabs are stored in crab pots. They are 
kept from a week to a fortnight. Doesn't think that they fall off in quality 
in that time. They keep best in the winter. They are nicked before they are 



55 

put in the store pots. They are not plugged now. Is in favour of retaining 
berried lobsters. Purchasers like them. 

Ambrose Ash. Has heard the above evidence and agrees with it. 



N.B. — There were a considerable number of fisherman in the room who also 
expressed their concurrence in the foregoing evidence. 



The Guildhall, Plymouth, Monday, 6th December 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

John Roach (examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman at Plymouth CRABS, 
for 40 years. Has been fishing for crabs and lobsters. His ground in the 
summer is 3 miles beyond the breakwater. The ground is spotty. Rocks, 
sand, mud, and stones. The ground is extensive. There are 28 boats come 
there. They come from the Yealm, and are mostly in the crab way. They 
generally begin fishing in March, and go on till the pilchard season commences Pilchardfishinrj. 
in August, when they are obliged to take up their pots to get them out of the 
way of the nets. There is very little fishing during the remainder of the year. 
It is too stormy to keep, the baskets out. 

There are not so many crabs and lobsters on the ground as there were 40 years Decrease. 
ago. Twenty-six years ago, there were in his father's time only eight boats on 
the ground between the Plym and the Bolt Tail. Now there are nearly 
100 boats on this ground. The boats could then catch 70 or 80 tale crabs a 
day. The boats now- could only catch 7 or 8 or 10. There are more crabs 
caught now than there were then. But the boats go over three times the ground 
and three times as far out. Has no doubt that the crabs are diminishing in 
numbers. After June can catch no large male crabs, only she and small ones. Berried. 
Thinks this decrease is due to over-fishing. They never catch berried crabs 
They always throw away small crabs under (say) 5 inches. Does not see what 
regulations are applicable to this. Complains of the barges coming from the 
oil of vitriol stores tipping their refuse outside the breakwater. Has picked up Pollution. 
scores of crabs burned by this refuse. Thinks the decrease in the crabs here- 
abouts is due to the refuse from these barges. This has been going on two or 
three years or more. Used to catch a good many crabs here. Since the prac- 
tice began has caught nothing. There are tons and tons of stuff thrown away 
in fine weather ; it is done mostly in summer when he is fishing. The refuse 
is white, like mud. It is refuse lime. 

Lobsters are not decreasing so much as the crabs. Thinks they are quicker LOB STE RS, 
in the water and get away from the stuff. The lobsters, however, are not so 
plentiful, as there are more fishermen after them. 

There could be no harm in a law making it illegal to kill all crabs under CRABS. 
5 inches. It ought to be adopted. Gauqe. 

Nor would there be any harm in a law to make it illegal to kill a berried Berried. 
crab, or in a law to make it illegal to kill soft crabs. 

There are more soft she crabs in June and July than at any other time of s °ft' 
the year. The he crabs then have always a she crab with them. Never caught 
but four berried crabs ; this was in the spring of the year. The soft crabs are 
generally in shallow water in sandy soil. 

There would be no harm in a law to throw away all lobsters under 8 inches. LOBSTERS. 

Catches many berried lobsters. Catches them all the year round. They cast Gauge. 
their berries in May and June, and are berried again in September. They ought 
to be thrown away in May and June, but not during the rest of the year. Close time. 
There are no berried lobsters under 1^ lbs. or 2 lbs. Once caught a berried 
crab of 4 inches ; but they are generally much larger. 

John Roach, junr. (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a fisherman for 
crabs and lobsters for 10 years. Fishes with pots. Rings were never used ■ Pois ' 
here. The entrance to the pots is 10 inches across the mouth. There is about 
3 inches between the ribs of the pots. Fishes about the harbour inside and out- 
side the breakwater. The crabs don't shift their ground much. They don't co me 
to eat the refuse in the harbour. Does not know what they eat. Uses gurnet, 



56 



CRABS. 
'Bait for. 



Species of. 

Colour. 

Berried. 

Soft. 

Pollution. 
Boats. 

LOBSTERS. 
No decrease. 

Spawning. 
Pollutions. 

Berried. 



CRABS. 

No decrease. 



Spawning. 



Young. 



Migration. 



Breeding. 



rays, and wrasse for bait. Anything white attracts the crabs. Usually begins 
fishing in February, and goes on till November. Under 8| inches the crabs go 
two for one. Above 8^ inches the crabs are tale crabs. Catches sometimes 
very small crabs, but returns all under 5 inches. Does not think that the 
crabs leave their beds in the autumn time. Most of the she crabs (locally 
known as ' ' pouch crabs ") are caught in June. Believes there are two distinct 
species of edible crabs ; one which is large, the other which is small. Has been 
to a place near the breakwater every year, and caught small crabs and no large 
ones ; therefore concludes that the small crabs are a distinct species. The 
colour of the crabs varies with the ground. Thinks this place, where the small 
crabs are caught, is a nursery for them. The largest crab he ever saw was about 
10 lbs. Has seen oysters attached to crabs. Cannot tell their age. Has seen 
crabs about 1 inch across. This was in August. Thinks all berried crabs 
should be put back. Knows what a soft crab is. Thinks they ought to be put 
back into the water. Knows a light crab. Catches them at the same time as 
the soft ones, in July and August. Inside the breakwater, where the soil is 
muddy, the crabs remain soft all the year round. Complains of the refuse from 
the vitriol works, which burns up and destroys the crabs. Does not see this 
pollution washed on to the shore. It remains like cement when it is once 
down. 

There are three boats at Plymouth now where there used to be one. 
Twenty-five and thirty pots a boat. The pots are set about 40 fathoms apart. 
Does not think that the lobsters have fallen ofp, as there used to be only 30 
baskets fishing, and there are now 80. Does not think that the lobsters are 
being over-fished. The one boat caught 25 lobsters; the three catch about 36 
lobsters a day. The smallest lobster he has seen here is about 5 inches, the 
largest lobster about 6 or 7 lbs. Thinks that an 8-inch lobster might be kept ; 
but that all under 74 inches might be put back. Thinks the lobsters live by 
suction. Catches berried hens all the year round, mostly in June and July. 
He fishes inside the breakwater. His father — the previous witness — fishes out- 
side the breakwater. The pollution does not come inside the harbour; but the 
fishermen complain that the pollution injures the pollards and other fish. 
Does not know whether it affects the salmon. Berried hens do not fetch more 
than any other [lobster, but the fish merchants are very anxious to have them 
for sauce. Thinks that all berried hens under 1^ lbs. should be returned to 
the sea. Cannot say what length a berried hen of this size would be. It 
would be impossible to throw back all the berried hens as 9 out of 10 
lobsters are berried. The crabs are scarcer in the 28 fathoms water, which is 
only fished for six weeks in the year, than in any other part of the fishery. 
The bottom in the deep water is also rocky. No close season here is necessary. 
They can only fish in April, May, June, July, and August. 

C. Spence Bate, F.R.S. Has been appointed by British Association to 
make inquiries into the Crustacea. Finds from inquiries that though crabs are 
not increasing to meet the demand of an increased population, there is no general 
decrease in the sea, The female crabs are of little value, and are always given 
by the trawlers to boys, and sold in this neighbourhood by only four women 
who purchase them of the boys. There are five trawlers on this part who 
bring in four or five dozen she crabs daily; sometimes as many as 10 dozen 
are brought in. On the 11th November from 50 to 60 dozen crabs (nearly all 
females) were brought in, but on that day many Brixham boats were driven 
in by stress of weather. These were all taken inside the Eddy stone in 30 
fathoms water. The she crabs at this time have their ovaries well developed, 
and the internal shell is beginning to form. The berries will be exposed in 
January, and carried till May. Soon after that the berries are hatched out. 
The shell of the egg always remains attached to the mother's apron till her 
shell is cast. In May the water is tinged with the young zoea of the crab. 
Thinks the she crabs gradually work in towards shore about this time of the 
year. In May they hatch out, and afterwards they cast their shell. When 
they are free from their shell, impregnation takes place. The shell cannot be 
cast, except on hard ground, where they can catch hold of something. Has 
himself seen a crab cast its shell, and the same crab almost immediately after- 
wards in the act of copulation. This he saw with the shore crab. Thinks 
there is only one species of edible crab. Thinks that the small size of the 
crabs on the east coast is due to the temperature ; and that Cornwall, where 



0/ 



the largest crabs are taken, is the central habitat of the species. There is only 
one edible crab caught in Cornwall or, as far as he knows, in Great Britain. 

Is himself in favour of returning all she crabs from March to May. Found 
in one she crab 2,000,000 of ova. They are very abundant. A female crab 
now (December) is as good as a male crab. Crabs cast their shell much less 
constantly when they are old. In the zoea state they cast their shells very 
frequently. Has seen the crabs in a continuous line from the zoea upwards. 
Is in favour of a gauge to prevent the capture of the little ones. Does 
not think that the crabs, in deep water, hibernate in the mud. The crabs 
in shallow water do. The crabs, which the trawlers bring in now. have their 
coral inside them. Is in favour of protecting the females and the small fish. 

The lobsters usually hatch out their eggs in June. In December the ova are 
carried. In June or July the young are hatched out. They carry the eggs 
during the whole of the intermediate period. Is in favour of protecting 
the female lobsters in May and June ; thinks there would be no harm in 
this. 

Thinks the crayfish are not made sufficient use of. Has no evidence to show 
whether they are migratory. 

The lobster is an article of luxury, the crab is an article of food. If Norway 
sends berried lobsters into the market in the summer months, it is all the 
more reason why the native lobsters should be protected in those months. 

Never heard of a Norwegian lobster being caught here. Thinks the sky 
blue lobster from North Wales is only a variation of colour. 

James Cavill Willcox. Has taken great interest in the sea fisheries for 
40 years, and has studied them both on the coast and in the Channel Islands. 
Eighteen years ago, when the Keyham works were commenced, all the filth 
from the excavation was thrown out into the sea. More or less, this has been 
going on ever since. The old fishermen at the time prophesied that it would 
be an injury. Thinks that this has injured the crab ground by filling up the 
holes and destroying their food. Thinks this injures the whiting ground and 
everything. It is a very difficult thing to make a close time for either crabs 
or lobsters. The trawlers take great quantities of crabs at this time of the 
year. The Admiralty has jurisdiction over the trawlers. 



CRABS. 
Species of. 

Shedding shells. 

Growth. 

LOBSTERS. 
Breeding. 

CRAY-FISH. 

Value of. 
LOBSTERS. 

Norivegian. 
Pollutions. 

Trawlers. 



Wembury House, Wembury, Plymouth, 6tn December 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

John Forster {examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman at Noss 
for 45 years, fishing for crabs and lobsters. Some boats fish close to shore ; 
but he goes 10 miles south of the river Yealm, off the Bolt Tail, five miles out 
to sea. This is locally called the West Ruts and the East Ruts. The bottom 
is mostly rocky, with patches of sand. The shoalest water on the East Ruts 
is 7 fathoms deep. The deepest water is 25 fathoms. Used to fish in the 
same place 45 years ago. 

Forty-five years ago there were seven or eight boats on the ground ; now Boats. 
there are 12 or 13. The boats used to carry 26 pots ; they carry now 30 pots. 
Commences fishing about the middle of February if the weather permits, but 
the weather rarely permits till March. Continues fishing till August, and Weather. 
some boats continue later. The days get shorter then, the weather gets bad, 
and the year worn out. Thinks that there were rather more shell fish on the 
ground then than there are now. But there is very little decrease. The price 
has risen, but bait and gear have also risen in price, and the net profit is .almost 
the same. Thinks the fishery is in good condition. Does not know that any- 
thing could be done to improve it. Thinks that he has not caught one berried 
crab in five years. In the beginning of October, the year before last, had 20 
dozen crabs in the store pots; they were there for some weeks ; and in the 
middle of October they had dozens with berries on them. Thinks from this 
that the crabs go to berry in October. That year had gone on crabbing to 






CRABS. 



Tied. 



58 



CRABS. 



Soft. 



Berried. 

Gauge. 

LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 



Berried. 
CRAY-FISH. 



CRABS. 



Price. 

Reason. 



LOBSTERS. 

No decrease. 



Trawlers. 
Berried. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 

Trawlers. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 



Boiling. 



the middle of October. He was getting old, and had given up netting, and 
so had gone on longer than usual crabbing. 

Frequently catches soft crabs in February when he begins fishing. Throws 
them overboard. Finds the soft he crabs at the same time as the soft she 
crabs. By the soft crabs means crabs with brittle shells. Makes a market 
with the best of the fishery. All he can induce the captain of the smack to 
take, he sells. There is very little in the soft crabs but water. They are called 
here pale crabs. The highest price for he crabs is 15j?. a dozen, the highest 
price for she crabs is 3s. a dozen, as a rule. The trawlers in the winter catch 
any number of berried crabs. Believes they throw away the berried crabs. 
It would be a good law to prevent the capture of all berried crabs. They 
return them now. It would be a good law to prevent the soft crabs being 
taken; and to prevent the sale of all crabs under 5 inches. 

The lobsters are a great deal scarcer than they were. There are more persons 
after them. Catches berried lobsters all through the year. Thinks that there 
is no particular period at which they spawn. It is impossible to make a close 
season for lobsters. Never saw a lobster taken much under 7 or 8 inches. A 
sale fish is 11 inches. Under that length they go two for one. It would not 
be a good thing to put back all the berried lobsters. They are the best lobsters. 

There are very few cray-fish on this coast. 

John Hockaday. Has been fishing 44 or 45 years. Fishes on the same 
ground as preceding witness. Sells his crabs to the Southampton and Hamble 
smacks. The smacks come once a fortnight in the season. Catches most 
crabs after a swell. The price of crabs has risen from 12s. to 15s. a dozen for 
hes. Mr. Scovell gives 3s. a dozen for shes. The she crabs run smaller than 
the he crabs, and the claws are smaller. There is not so much fish in the shes 
as the hes. Catches she crabs chiefly in July and August. Some crabs are 
sold to the French. The French smacks come from Dieppe. He doesn't 
himself sell to the French unless his store pots are full and he has no room 
for more. The French give the same price as Mr. Scovell for he crabs, perhaps 
a trifle more for she crabs. For the last 30 years two vessels have been coming 
twice a fortnight. An 8-inch crab is a sale crab. Doesn't think he sells any 
crabs under 5 inches. The crabs are all sent away alive. 

Sees very little difference in the lobsters. Has caught lobsters 10 lbs. in 
weight, but very rarely. A 11 -inch lobster is a sale lobster, below this they go 
two for one. They never catch a lobster in a pot under 7 inches. Smaller 
lobsters go through the pots which have a space of If inches between the ribs. 
Lobsters are never plugged. Thinks the trawlers do a great deal of harm to 
the crab fishery. The crabs go on to the sand, and the trawlers catch them. 
Finds berried lobsters all through the year, but has no personal experience of 
this. It wouldn't pay to have to put back berried lobsters. 

Martin Ross. A fisherman of Newton Ferrers. Was fishing off the Eddy- 
stone last summer, and for the two preceding years. Fine lobsters are caught 
on a portion of this ground. There were two boats from Yealm and three 
from Cawsand, fishing there last season. The lobsters were less plentiful last 
summer than three years previously. The old ground failed, but found a new 
piece of ground where they had good fishing. Thinks the old ground was 
exhausted. There had been three or four other boats besides himself. It is a 
very small patch of rocks, not above an acre. It was fished with pots. Is in 
favour of a close season both for crabs and lobsters. It should commence on 
the 1st September and end on the 31st January. There is no fishing in these 
months, but it would stop the trawlers. Thinks the trawlers do great damage 
by destroying female crabs. The trawlers come close to the Eddystone 
ground. Is in favour of returning all he crabs below 5 inches, and all she 
crabs under 4 inches. It wouldn't do to make one gauge for both. Is in favour 
of returning all small lobsters under, say, 7 inches. A gauge of 8 inches would 
be a sacrifice. An 8-inch lobster {seeing a gauge) is very small. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The patch of ground off the Eddystone was on the 
south-west side. His boat would put 30 pots on this acre of ground, and there 
were four other boats. There would be upwards of 100 pots on this one acre. 
The Cawsand men found the ground first and found very large lobsters there. 
Lobsters are always large on a new ground. The Eddystone lobsters are about 
3 or 3|lbs. Has seen lobsters without claws, probably from fighting. Lobsters 
are not plugged, and crabs are usually stabbed before they are boiled. 



59 

Thomas Leonard. Has been fishing for 30 and 40 years on the same CRABS. 

ground as Mr. Forster. Thinks he catches about the same number of crabs 

as he used to, and that they are not smaller. Agrees with Mr. Forster that all ° ecrease - 
crabs under 5 inches, all berried crabs, and all soft crabs should be thrown back. Gauf J e - 
Thinks all lobsters under 8 inches should be thrown back. Thinks the s °f im 
trawlers are injurious, but is afraid of meddling with them, as they might cut 
away the pots. The pots with the lines and corks cost about 5.9. each. 

John Allis. Fishes along the shore from the Yealm to Mothecombe. There 
are just the same number of crabs as there used to be, and they are about the 
same size. The fishing season commences in February and ends in September. 
Very seldom catches she crabs till June and July. Agrees that lobsters under LOBSTERS. 

8 inches and crabs under 5 inches should be returned to the sea. Thinks that 

there are as many fish caught as there were 30 years ago, but that the take is au ° e ' 
divided among more boats. 

Henry Kingcund. For two summers took the crabs for Mr. Scovell. 
Confirms the evidence of previous witnesses. Saw no berried crabs in the 
fishing season, but believes berried lobsters may be taken all through the Berried. 
year. Does not think legislation for crabs or for lobsters is necessary. 



Rolle Arms Hotel, Budleigh Salterton, Thursday, 
7th December 1876. 

Present: 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Reverend George Dace Adams {examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been CRABS, 

28 years vicar of Budleigh Salterton. The population of the village is about 

1,600. There are about 30 fishermen ; there is a considerable fishery for lobsters 
and crabs. The principal fishery is 10 miles out, off the Exeters ; but there 
is also a fishery along shore. Thinks the fishery is about stationary, but that it 
might be made more productive. Thinks there ought to be a close season, and 
that the shell fish ought not to be taken and wasted. Will leave the fisher- 
men to say when the close season should be. They are in the habit of bringing 
ashore very small crabs and lobsters. They bring ashore crabs 5 inches 
across. Thinks no crab ought to be taken under 5 inches. Hundreds of small g auqe 
lobsters are brought in in the shrimp nets, and these small lobsters ought to 
be put back. Thinks the institution of a close season, and the prohibition of 
the capture of very small fish would do a great deal of good to the fisheries. 

George Bent {examined by Mr. Walpole). Is a fisherman. Has been 
acquainted with the fisheries for crabs and lobsters all his life, 74 years. 
Thinks the crabs are decreasing in number. The crabs w r ere more plentiful j) ecrease 
50 years ago than they are now ; could catch double the number of crabs with 
half the number of pots. The gross take of all the boats is nearly as large now 
as ever. There are six boats fishing for crabs and lobsters at the Exeters ; 
each boat carries 40 pots. There were four boats 40 years ago, and they used 
to carry about 30 pots each. There is 5 or 6 miles of ground at the Exeters. 
From the Exeters they never get crabs smaller than 5 inches, they run up to 
8 or 10 lbs. The shell fish are sent to Exeter, being sold c to dealers in the 
village in the first instance. Is in favour of a gauge, and thinks a 5-inch gauge Gauge. 
for crabs, and an 8-inch gauge for lobsters would do. Thinks the trawlers do 

serious injury to the crab fishery, by catching the female crabs, especially in the 

fall. The females leave the rocks in the spawning season. Has seen many Gauge. 
a dozen of the female crabs brought in at Brixham. The trawlers work on Trawlers. 
sandy ground. The trawlers should, in his opinion, be prevented from 
bringing in crabs. They destroy also a great quantity of small fish. 

Richard Pratt {examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been a fisherman for 
30 years, and fishing all the time for crab and lobsters. Fishes off the Exeters 
and along shore. Thinks there are 8 miles of off-ground, a mile or more broad, 
i.e., scattered ground, with patches of sand between the rocks. The in-shore 



60 



CRABS. 



Season. 



Migration. 
Berried. 

Soft. 
Gauge. 
Close time. 

LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 



Berried. 

Close time. 



CRABS. 

Sp awning. 
JSoft. 



Weather. 



Bait. 



PRAWNS. 



CRABS. 

Boiling. 



ground extends all the way to Sidmouth. The Exeter ground is fished by 
six boats from Budleigh Salterton. But boats also come from Teignmouth to 
Exmouth. They carry about 40 pots a boat. There are two boats from 
Exmouth, one from Teignmouth. Nine or ten boats altogether. The fishing 
season here always begins in February and ends at the end of October. Off 
the Exeters they begin at the end of March or beginning of April, and 
continue till the end of September. The inshore ground is fished for a longer 
period than the off-shore ground. There are not so many she crabs caught off 
the Exeters as there were, but there is not so much falling off among the hes. 
Thinks the decrease of the shes is due to their leaving the rocks to spawn in 
the trawling ground, to their being taken there, and carried in cartloads to 
Brixham. Thinks the she crabs leave the rocks in September ; catches but 
few after that. The shes are in the best condition, full of red coral, before they 
leave the rocks. The she crabs that are caught by the trawlers, all through 
the fall, the winter, and the spring, have berries on them. In the spring the 
crabs are getting soft and brittle. They get hard as the summer comes on. 
The cock crabs are soft all through the year. There is even a greater decrease 
in the inshore ground than in the off ground. The crabs in shore are both 
larger and smaller than those in the off ground. Thinks that no person should 
be allowed to bring on shore or sell any small crabs. No crab under 5 inches 
should be taken. Thinks no close season is necessary for the off-shore ground, 
as the weather makes one. But on the in-shore ground is in favour of 
making a close season from 1 st October to the 14th February. Thinks also a 
law should be made to prohibit the capture of all berried crabs, and also of 
soft or glass crabs ; they are called here soft and white crabs. 

The fishermen don't catch so many lobsters as they used to. Is in favour of 
prohibiting all lobsters under 8 inches in length. The small lobsters are chiefly 
taken in shrimp nets. Very small lobsters are taken in the shrimp nets. The 
shrimpers would have no difficulty in saving these, and it would be no inter- 
ference with a shrimp fisherman to make him do so. Is in favour of a close 
season for lobsters. Catches berried lobsters all the year, especially in the 
spring, when they catch more lobsters. Is in favour of the same close season for 
lobsters as for crabs. Thinks it would be a very bad thing for the fishermen 
if they were not allowed to keep berried lobsters. The berried lobster is very 
valuable, and the berried crab is not valuable, and so it would be wrong to pro- 
hibhVthe capture of berried lobsters. Does not wish to interfere with the trawlers ; 
but wants to compel them to return the berried crabs and the soft crabs. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The she crabs are in the best condition, with coral in 
them, in July and August. The trawl crabs in December would some have the 
coral inside, some the berries outside. The in-shore crabs are never so large as 
the off-shore crabs. Begins to catch white she crabs in February. Catches 
very few crabs in cold Februaries. The crabs will not crawl till the weather 
gets warmer. Doesn't see the male and female crabs together in the rocks. 
The trawlers fish all the year round. Thinks they catch the crabs which are 
buried in the sand in the fall of the year. Gets less money for she crabs than 
for he crabs. The she crabs are smaller than the hes. A she crab in July, 
August, and September has more meat in her than at any other time. They 
have coral in them then. They carry their berries in December. The crabs 
whose spawn has hatched out in the winter and spring, fill up by the following 
August. Skate, gurnet, and flounders are used for bait. Crabs are never 
broken up for bait here. The price has risen during the last 10 or 12 years. 
The prawns here are caught in hoops with nets. They are hauled as fast as 
they can haul them. Some nights they may catch 1,000 prawns. Other nights 
only a few. There are many more boats on the prawns than there used to be. 
There are seven or eight boats out of Salterton, and can recollect only two. 
There are 25 boats out of Sidmouth for prawns. Puts the crabs in cold water. 
The crab dies before the water boils. If he put the crab in hot water it would 
shoot its claws. If the crabs are stabbed they are not such good eating. The 
crabs, under his present plan, are dead before the water is too hot for him to 
bear his hand in. The crabs are dead before the water boils. They are dead 
in a quarter of an hour. The lobsters are neither plugged nor nicked nor tied, 
but put into hot water. Lobsters, after shooting their claws, will grow fresh 
ones. Finds many growing new claws. 

Thomas Cooper. Lives at Budleigh Salterton. Has been fishing for eight 



61 

years. Uses about 40 pots. The pots are set about 100 yards apart. The pots 

are set on the rocks in 14 or 15 fathoms water. Was trawling in a Brixham Trawlers. 

trawler for three years and a half — 30 years ago. The trawl beam is 22 feet 

long and upwards. Heard Mr. Pratt's evidence about the trawlers. When 

he was trawling here he caught many crabs in the summer season from May to 

October. They mostly had red coral in them. Was not trawling in the 

winter months. Thinks the trawlers might be made to put back all berried 

crabs. It would not interfere with their business. Agrees with Mr. Pratt that 

all berried crabs, all crabs under 5 inches, and all lobsters under 8 inches 

should be put back. 



N.B. — The other fishermen at the meeting expressed concurrence in the 
evidence given by Mr. Pratt. 



King and Queen Inn, Hamble, Friday, 8th December 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Robert Scovell. Has been a fish merchant at Hamble for 40 years. The * 

business has been in his family for over a century. The business first began by 
his ancestors taking hoops for pilchard barrels from the New Forest to Cornwall, 
and bringing back a cargo of crabs. Is in the habit of obtaining crabs and 
lobsters from the Start to the Scilly Islands, including Sennen. Does not send 
to Scotland. Obtains them in Ireland from Cape Clear to Bantry. The shell- 
fish are sent all over the kingdom. Used formerly to supply London j but 
since the institution of railways sends them all over the kingdom, down even 
to Edinburgh. Has not found any falling off in the crabs either in size or in N° decrease. 
number. There are certain places where the fish are never large. Has had 
crabs 12 or 14 lbs. in weight. These crabs come from Gorran Haven, Start 
Bay, and other places. The average size is from 5 to 7 lbs. A sale crab or 
measured crab is 8 inches across the back. Below this size they go two for 
one. A crab from 5 to 6 inches is a small crab. The crabs are not smaller 
in size than they used to be. Is in favour of returning all crabs under 6 
inches. At Portland, however, and Bognor not one crab in four would mea- 
sure 6 inches. There would be a difficulty in having a gauge for Cornwall 
which would not apply to Portland and Bognor. The crabs in some places are 
larger than others. The largest crabs in Europe are in Start Bay. Along the 
north-east coast of England the crabs run small. The small crabs on the 
north-east coast will never grow into big ones. Would, as a fish merchant, 
prefer a 6-inch gauge, and this should apply to shes as well as hes. A 5-inch Gauge. 
gauge, however, would do, and a 6-inch gauge would not do for Portland and 
Bognor. From February to April the she crabs run very small, but there are 
very few she crabs killed in those months. The* female crabs come in in June, 
and go on till September. They begin to fall off in the latter part of October. 
Has a few females in December, but they then fall off. Finds the coral in the 
she crabs in November and December. Thinks the she crabs in January draw 
off into deep water to spawn. The berried crabs are in January. Thinks the Spawning. 
berries hatch out in January, but has not seen a berried she crab for a year. 
Thinks that all berried crabs should be returned to the water. Gets more 
for his crabs from April to October. Thinks the crabs are in best condition 
in February and March. Never purchases soft crabs, but has had crabs cast 
their shells with him. Calls light crabs white berried crabs, and these and 
soft crabs should be all returned to the 'water. There is no sale for soft soft. 
crabs. Boils the crabs here. Puts them into cold water on a very steady 
fire. Only boils them for his own use. They are sent away alive. The crabs 
are dead before the water is lukewarm. Putting crabs into cold water is the Boiling. 
most merciful way of killing them ; they are drowned. Knows that the 
trawlers interfere with the crabbers, but they do not do so very much. The 
Brixham trawlers catch a great many crabs. Is in favour of returning all berried 






62 



CRABS. 
Price. 

Railways. 
Colour. 

Food of. 
LOBSTERS. 

Food of. 

Supply of. 

French. 



Berried. 



Store pots. 



Food of. 



CRAY-PISH. 

Value of. 



crabs ; all light crabs ; and and all undersized crabs. Can give no idea of the 
rate of growth in a crab. The price of crabs has risen for the last 30 years. 
The price of crabs 30 years ago was lis. to 155. a dozen. The price now is 
about double, 25s. a dozen. The Start crabs are the dearest, as they are 
superior fish. The increase of price has been due to the increased demand. 
The railways have created a competition among other places ; while before the 
railways the fish were sent by van only to London. Does not believe that 
there are fewer crabs in the sea than there were, but that in some places they 
are not so large. Is, therefore, in favour of preserving the small crabs. The 
crabs at Scilly are small, black, light, and not fit to take. You can catch 
good crabs where you get good lobsters and cray-fish. The good crabs are off 
the sand ; the good lobsters are off the rocks. Cannot say what is the food of 
crabs, but believes they will eat shell fish. Lobsters will eat oysters. Has 
proved this. 

The principal supply of lobsters is from France and Ireland, as well as from 
the Start to the Scilly Islands. To the west of Mount's Bay there are large 
quantities of lobsters. The lobsters have not fallen off in size and number. 
The size differs according to the ground. Gets large lobsters from Brest, and 
thinks the Brest lobsters very good. A tale lobster is 11 inches. There are 
now 22 smacks at Hamble, and there used, 40 years ago, to be only six or 
seven. The smacks are from 45 to 80 tons. The smacks are all welled 
smacks, and collect the fish from the fishermen. Imagines from this fact that 
the trade is not falling off. Is in favour of returning the small lobsters to 
the sea. An 8-inch lobster is too small to sell. Gets berried lobsters every 
month of the year. Gets most in May and June, but there is very little 
difference. Has seen berried hens as small as 9 inches. Thinks that the 
berried hens should not be returned to the water, but sent to market. They 
are more valuable than other lobsters, especially during the salmon and turbot 
season, and when berried are in the very best condition for food. The berries 
are used for sauce. If a law was made enforcing the return of berried hens it 
would not be obeyed. The fishermen would strip off the berries, and after 
12 hours an expert could not tell whether the berries had been removed. Is 
not in favour of a close season for lobsters. The greatest demand for lobsters 
is during the London season. Very few lobsters are caught in the winter 
season. A lobster in a welled smack will keep for a fortnight or a month. 
But an average passage is a week or ten days, except in very hot calm weather. 
In hot, calm weather they hang the lobsters overboard in nets. A welled 
smack in one voyage will carry 18,000 to 20,000 small lobsters. But an average 
voyage is 3,000 to 4,000. Has reservoirs for lobsters. They contain about a 
quarter of an acre of water, seven feet deep. There are sometimes 20,000 or 
30,000 lobsters in these pits. They are not fed. They are sent away continually. 
A lobster is never fed, but never kept for any time in a reservoir. Some years 
ago he did feed them, but then the lobsters died. Thinks that lobsters 
would do very well in a pond for some months, if the soil suited them, and 
they had plenty of fresh sea water. If they die at all, they die in the first week 
in the pit. Thinks they live on any animalculse that may come in. Once 
weighed a lobster when put into the pit, and found that it increased in weight 
in the two months it was in the* pit. Plugging lobsters is a recent practice, 
and not practised. Lobsters and crabs should both be nicked. 

Sees that it was stated at Fishmongers' Hall that cray-fish are extinct. 
The fact is that the cray fish are all sent to Paris. Londoners won't buy them. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) There are 22 smacks at Hamble; eight belong to him, 
eight to Captain John Harnden, and six to Messrs. Warner. His own smacks 
produced in 1875 : — 



Crabs and cray-fish - 

Lobsters _---.. 

In 1876 to 31st October, 

Crabs and cray-fish - 

Lobsters - 

Since the 31st October, 1876, 

Crabs and cray-fish - 

Lobsters - - - 

All crabs and crayfish come from the English coast, 
from France and Ireland. 



108,499 
88,296 

98,545 

86,585 

6,054 
1,239 
The lobsters chiefly 



63 

On reconsideration desires to say that a 6-inch gauge will not do for she CRABS. 
crabs. With that gauge would have to throw away 80 per cent. Would Q auqe 
prefer two gauges, one for males and one for female crabs. There should be a 
6-inch gauge for males, and a 5-inch gauge for females. 

The crab fishery commences in January, if fine, or in February. When he Season for. 
said that crabs were in the best condition in February he meant male crabs. 
Many of the female crabs are then small and the large female crabs are light. 
The large female crabs in February have recently cast their shell. The female 
crab improves in condition as the year advances, and is in good condition from 
July to October when they are fullest. The red coral is not in the female crab Spawning. 
before October. The coral is in the shell from October to January. They 
then go away to deposit their spawn and are seldom seen. 

Captain John Harnden {examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been 45 years 
engaged in the crab and lobster trade. Has eight smacks at the present time. Trade in. 
His smacks go to Norway, France, Ireland, and the English coast. Has a 
large depot here and at Great Grimsby. Has two smacks trading to Norway. 
The Norway trade does not begin till May (to any extent) and ends in July. 
There is a close season in Norway, but it is not observed. There is no trade LO BSTE RS, 
in crabs from Norway. The Norwegian lobster is a smaller lobster than the Norwegian. 
English lobster. An 8-inch gauge would, for the time being, be injurious Q auget 
to the Norwegian fishermen ; but it would be an ultimate benefit to the 
Norwegian trade. Is aware that the Norwegian Legislature had a proposal 
before it to prohibit the capture of all lobsters under 8 inches, and thinks this 
ought to have been adopted. A Norwegian fisherman, speaking for others, 
told him that 8 inches ought to be the gauge. If an 8-inch gauge would do 
for this country, it would not injure the Norwegian fisheries ultimately. A 
hen lobster would breed twice before she arrived at the 8-inch gauge. An 
8-inch gauge would injure the fishermen for a little time, but they would 
benefit hereafter. Has four or five smacks trading to France. The French French. 
fish are larger fish, and the 8-inch gauge will do no harm there. Would like 
in this country an 11-inch gauge, but we must take the Norwegian gauge for 
the highest markets. Thinks nothing is necessary for the Norwegian fisheries 
except the institution of a gauge. Thinks that there are lobsters in good 
condition in any month of the year. Thinks that lobsters are in berry all the Berried. 
year round ; but that they hatch out chiefly in the summer. Has store chests 
at Grimsby, and store pits both here and in Norway. Thinks he can produce Store pot*. 
as good lobsters out of pits as anywhere. But they must be fed. Has had 
lobsters in pits for six years; both hens and cocks. Can't say what their 
growth has been. In France they say a lobster takes 10 years to come to his 
growth, i.e., his extreme growth. Ponds ought to be encouraged, if properly Growth. 
conducted, and not put down. Has heard Mr. Kenneth Smith's (of Stornoway) 
evidence,* relative to the inadvisability of keeping lobsters in ponds. Totally 
differs from it. 

Gets his crabs from the Start to the Land's End ; is in favour of a 5-inch CRABS, 
gauge for shes and a 6-inch for hes. This gauge must apply to Billingsgate Q auQe 
and the other markets. Can't say whether this gauge will destroy the Portland 
and Bognor fishery. Believes that the crabs retire to spawn in deep water 
and holes. This is in January. After the female crab has cast her shell in Migration. 
February the male crab is found protecting her. Can't say whether impreg- 
nation is then effected. Is in favour of returning all soft and light crabs, and Soft. 
all berried crabs and all black crabs. The black crabs found in the lobster Black. 
ground in Mount's Bay are never good and it is no use making a law for them. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Does not know whether the Norwegian fishermen will be LOBSTERS, 
pleased with the 8-inch gauge. The Norwegian lobster merchants are in — 

favour of this gauge. The lobsters take sometimes seven or eight days coming x orwe 9 mn - 
from Norway to Grimsby. His lobsters in Grimsby are stored in chests. They Store pots. 
can be kept for a fortnight or three weeks in chests. The trade in tinned 
American lobsters is not interfering with his fisheries. Has come from 
Sweden to Hamble in five days, but takes generally a fortnight. Has come 
from Norway to Hull in 50 hours. Does not now get lobsters from Sweden. 
Does not think that the Norwegian fisheries have fallen off, except in size. 
Large quantities of Norwegian lobsters go to Belgium. 

* See'Evidence, Scotland, page 48. 
40353. H 






64 



CRABS. 



Trade in. 



Gauge. 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

Store pots. 



Trade 



CRABS. 

Trade in. 



John Scovell, fish merchant at Hamble. Has taken an active part in 
the trade for 11 years. A member of the firm of Messrs. Warner and Scovell, 
and a brother of Mr. Robert Scovell. Messrs. Warner and Scovell have six 
smacks, trading from Start Bay to Scilly Islands, Padstow, and Lundy 
Island, Ireland, and France. His smacks go from Baltimore (Cape Clear) to 
Connemara. Doesn't think that the crabs are getting less numerous anywhere. 
Contracts to take the whole catch of the fishermen. Used to trade with the 
West Coast of Scotland ; but never traded with the East Coast of Scotland 
and England. Is in favour of a 6-inch gauge for he crabs, and a 5-inch gauge 
for she crabs. All berried crabs should be put back. All the soft light crabs 
and black crabs should be put back. The black crabs take their colour from 
the ground. 

Is also in favour of an 8-inch gauge for lobsters. Berried lobsters must be 
sent to market. The lobsters are in the country sold by weight. Has had 
pits, and has boxes for storing lobsters. Thinks that lobsters would be more 
likely to deteriorate in J une and July than at any other time in the pits. They 
will, if properly attended to, do as well in the pits as anywhere else. It would 
be a great injury to the London trade if no pits were allowed. Thousands 
were lost before the pits were introduced. During the last two years has 
purchased* — 



Crabs 

Cray-fish 

Lobsters 



Crabs 

Cray-fish 

Lobsters 



In 18/5. 



In 1876. 



76,470 
11,000 
27,460 



82,000 

9,500 

27,500 



Thinks that about 10 per cent, of the crabs from Cornwall go by rail. Mr. 

Locke, another merchant in the trade, has also five smacks. The produce of 

Devonshire and Cornwall may be placed as follows : — 

Messrs. Scovell, and Warner and Scovell - - 200,000 crabs 

Capt. Harnden - 50,000 „ 

Mr. Locke ------ 60,000 „ 

Railway - 50,000 to 100,000 „ 

Local trade - - - - - 90,000 „ 

or about half a million of crabs for Cornwall and Devonshire, 



The Assembly Kooms, Bognor, Saturday, 9th December 1876. 



LOBSTERS. 



Small. 



Decrease. 



PRAWNS. 



Pots. 



Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Reverend Alfred Conder, Rector of Middleton. Has been requested by 
the fishermen to set an epitome of evidence before the Commissioners. The 
fishermen are unanimously of opinion that some. legislation is necessary; that 
lobsters have hitherto been caught too small ; that lobsters have been taken 
14 to 20 to the pound. They think this state of things wrong; but, while 
one man does it, all will take the small lobsters, called chicken lobsters. There 
is no natural cause, so far as Bognor and Selsea are concerned, for the destruc- 
tion of the fish ; but there is a great diminution. There is a diversity of 
opinion among the Bognor and Selsea men as to the size of the lobster. The 
Bognor men propose that no lobster should be taken under a quarter pound 
weight. The fishery at Bognor is chiefly connected with the prawn trade, and 
the small lobsters are caught in the prawn pots. In the Selsea fishery ports 
larger pots are used, with ribs an inch apart. The mouth of the pots is 6J 
inches; the mouth of the prawn pots is 4J inches. The Selsea men also propose 
that no lobster should be taken under a quarter of a pound. The fishermen say 



65 

that they catch the lobsters both in deep and shallow water. The large lobsters LOBSTERS, 
are mainly caught in the early spring and in the late autumn. The Bognor B . " — 
fishermen say they catch berried lobsters all the year round. The Selsea men erried - 
do not catch berried lobsters in midsummer. The Bognor men think that no 
close season is necessary, as they practically do not commence fishing till the 
early spring. The Selsea men recommend a close season from the middle of Close time. 
November to the middle of February. The best fish are caught in water from 
10 to 14 fathoms deep. The Bognor men fish in shallow water. 

John Richards, a fisherman of Bognor. Has been fishing for 30 years 
both inshore and deep water. Would not like a close season from November 
to February, must fish in November. The close season ought not to begin till 
December, and might go on till beginning of February. Has been catching 
lobsters and crabs for 30 years. Uses both the small pots and large pots . 

{Examined by Mr. Buckland.) For the first 20 years used nothing but the 
large pots. During the last 10 years used small pots as well. The pots are Pots. 
the same as they used to be. 

(By Mr. IValpole.) Carries about 30 big pots off shore, and 200 little pots 
for the inshore fishing. The pots go out at the commencement of the season, 
and remain out throughout it. The most valuable fishery at Bognor is the 
prawn fishery. It is a good day's work to get 20 lbs. of lobster in a day. 
There would be 25 to 30 lobsters in the 20 lbs. Each lobster would average 
about two thirds of a pound. Considerably more than one half would be 
over 8 inches in length. Thinks that the little lobsters in time would grow 
into big ones. Could not agree to put back lobsters over 7 inches. Could 
only consent to put back all over a quarter of a pound. Thinks this an 
exceptional place for breeding lobsters ; it is a great nursery for lobsters. Thinks Breeding. 
the little lobster will grow into a big one ; but that he will not stay at Bognor. 
Never caught a lobster over 8 lbs., and not many over 4 lbs. When he com- 
mences, about April, catches mostly berried hens. There are most berried 
hens in October. Sees little lobsters in the spring. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Fishes along the coast from Littlehampton to Selsea, 
and 12 miles out to sea. Fishes up to the shore where it is dry at low water. 
There are all sorts of bottoms between this and the Owers light, 12 miles out 
to sea. There is a large ridge of rocks at the Owers light, covered with weeds. 
Uses plaice for bait, if he can get it. Breaks up watery crabs for bait for Bait. 
prawns. There are about the same number of boats now at Bognor that there 
were when he was young, from 16 to 20 boats. There are not so many boats go 
outside from Bognor as there used to be; but there are more on the inshore 
ground. Trawlers cannot come here as the bottom is too rocky. Those 
who go prawning carry a few lobster pots. Crabs are caught in the prawn CRABS. 
pots, and they injure the pots by pinching them, and get out of them. This is 
not a crab ground. There are a lot of small crabs here. Very few are sent 
to market. Takes no interest in the crab fishery. Brighton is the principal 
market for shell-fish. They are most valuable in April because they are scarcer. 
The price has not altered much during the last three or four years ; but is 
better than it was 20 years ago. The railway, which was made 11 years ago, 
has done the fishermen good. Cannot say whether the lobsters have decreased LOBSTERS, 
or not. The seasons vary. The lobsters fish best in July, and at night, and in 
fine weather. Thick water is good for crabs, fine water for lobsters. Wouldn't Weather. 
like a law compelling the return of berried lobsters. The Brighton fishmongers 
will buy a parcel of lobsters weighing 20 lbs. for the sake of two or three berried Berried. 
hens in it. Thinks nothing should be done except to enforce the return of all 
lobsters under a i lb. A J lb. lobster will measure 6^ inches. If an 8-inch 
gauge were made, the Bognor fishermen could not earn a livelihood. Some 
days they would scarcely bring anything home. The principal market is 
Brighton. The chicken lobsters are in great demand in Goodwood week. 
About the end of May they catch a great many little lobsters. Perhaps 10 or 
12 under 6% inches in a day, from 1 oz. to 3 oz. At the bottom of the sea, 
close in to shore, there are grass banks with holes like rat or rabbit holes, in 
which the lobsters live. These banks extend for 20 miles from Selsea to 
Shoreham in patches. The grass weed grows on mud banks. These mud 
banks form a breeding ground. The French coast is 80 miles off. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Will be satisfied with the local market in Sussex for all 

H 2 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

PRAWNS. 



LOBSTERS. 
Close time. 
CRABS. 



Sea son for. 



Gauge. 



Berried. 



PR1WNS. 

CRABS. 

Decrease. 



small lobsters under 6^ inches in length. No lobsters to be sold in Sussex 
under 6^ inches. 

John Mills. Agrees with Mr. Richards' evidence. There are 25 boats 
engaged in the fishery here. Each boat carries 200 prawn pots, and about 30 
lobster pots. The prawn pots extend about 3 miles along the coast, and 3 miles 
out, 9 or 10 square miles. They put back the very little lobsters of their own 
accord. Cannot tell the age of these little lobsters. Agrees with Mr. Richards 5 
evidence. The crab fishery is not important here. 

William Legge. A fisherman of Selsea. Has been so for 43 years. Is 
in favour of a close season from the middle of November to the middle of 
February. The Selsea men have been in the habit of throwing away all female 
crabs over 2 lbs. in weight. There are a great many female crabs over 2 lbs. 
in weight. The fishery at Selsea extends in a triangle of which the base is 
formed by the shore from Bognor to Selsea. The sides are Sand 12 miles long 
respectively. Fishes in 10 to 14 fathoms water. Brighton is the chief market. 

The fishermen at Selsea have always been in the habit of putting back the 
big female crabs which are watery when that size. The female crabs are 
chiefly caught in July, August, and September, and the large female crabe are 
not good then. Thinks these crabs are a home fish and not foreigners. 
Catches light crabs in May and June, not often earlier. Cocks and hens are 
light at the same time. Is in favour of a law to return light crabs. The 
Selsea crabs run from 3 inches to 8 or 9 lbs. The average is 2 to 4 lbs. The 
Selsea fishermen all say that all crabs under a quarter of a lb. should be 
returned. This is about 4^ inches. Many days the men would go home without 
wages if a 4|-inch crab were put back. There are about 20 boats at Selsea 
dependent on the crab fishery. A 5-inch gauge would be ruinous to the fisher- 
men. The small crabs are sold at Brighton at about 4c?. a pound. Catches a 
few berried crabs. They are always returned. Catches them now and then in 
the summer. Would not catch a berried crab at this time (December). Is 
certain the crabs hatch out in the summer. The 20 boats are solely depen- 
dent on crabbing, except in the winter, when they dredge for oysters. In the 
Outer rocks there are a bigger size of crabs, but the 20 boats cannot go there, 
because they are manned by older men. The younger men only can go to 
the Outer rocks. 

Prawns are not falling off at Selsea. April is the best season for them, and 
sometimes September. 

The crabs have diminished in number. There are one third less than there 
used to be. There are more boats than there used to be, but there are fewer 
crabs in the sea. Doubts whether the crabs are quite as large as they used 
to be. Thinks the decrease is due to killing the female crabs. Thinks that 
it would be a good thing to return all the small crabs under a quarter of a 
pound. 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



School-room, Cromer, Thursday, 1st February 1877. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 



N.B. — At a meeting attended by a large number of gentlemen and fishermen 
interested in the crab and lobster fisheries of Norfolk, a resolution was unani- 
mously passed, recommending that the gauge for lobsters enacted by the Crab 
and Lobster Fisheries (Norfolk) Act should be repealed, and that the gauge 
for lobsters should in future be 8 inches, measured from the tip of the beak 
to the end of the tail. 



Supply of. 



67 
Council Chamber, Birmingham, Friday, 16th February 1877. 

Present: 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

William Smith Scott. Has been a fishsalesman at Birmingham for 15 CRABS, 
years. Deals in all kinds of fish. Sells crabs and lobsters. The supply of 
crabs depends on the season. Some days there are a hundred barrels, some 
days only 10 to 20 barrels. There are six to ten dozen crabs in a barrel, 
running from 4 to 10 inches across the back. The crabs come from Anstruther, 
St. Monance, Preston Pans, Dunbar, Coldingham, Cockburnspath, Eyemouth, 
Burnmouth, Berwick, Holy Island, Beadnell, Craster, Boulmer, Cullercoats ; 
a few from Filey, Scarborough, and Robin Hood's Bay ; and from Cornwall, 
Guernsey, and Jersey. The largest crabs are from Guernsey and Jersey. 
They run 12 to 14 or 16 inches across the back. A few crabs come from the 
Isle of Man, and Ireland. 

A few lobsters also come from the places mentioned. The quantity of crabs Decreased size. 
sent to the market has not been less, but for the last six or seven years the 
crabs have decreased in size. The fishermen, during the last six or seven 
years, have been sending shell-fish direct to the market on their own account, 
the merchants declining to take the little crabs and the white-footed crabs. 
The small crabs are bought two for one, and sometimes three for one. 

Before he came to Birmingham he had large dealings in crabs in the south- 
east of Scotland, which was his native country. 

Is in favour of a gauge for crabs. Produces a crab 4i inches in length, and Gauge. 
thinks no crab much less than this should be sold. Suggests a gauge of 4§ 
inches, to be applicable to England and Scotland. But the responsibility must 
rest upon the fishermen and not upon the salesmen. The crabs are boiled 
here. 

Knows a "light" crab. Produces some. Defines a light crab by the light- Soft. 
ness of the shell. They are called here white crabs. The dealers get many 
white crabs sometimes, especially between September and January. They 
are crabs which have cast their shell in the summer, and the new shell is 
gradually hardening in the winter. The dealers sell the claws of these white 
crabs. It is a great pity that these white crabs are brought to market at all ; it 
is a great loss to the country. They are of no use at all. They do not pay 
for their carriage. Has seen white crabs at Dunbar pinched, their shells broken, 
and thrown overboard. Knows a soft crab, which is like an egg without a shell. 
It does not take more than a fortnight or three weeks for a light crab to 
recover its condition. After a storm there are always a great many white crabs, 
but they fill up in a week, and then none are caught. Knows very little about 
trawling, and does not know whether the trawlers pick up many light crabs. 

The crabs here are boiled. It is the habit here to kill them in lukewarm Soiling. 
water. It does not answer to stab them. Does not know what temperature 
they will die at. 

At this time of year there is a very small supply of lobsters at Birmingham. LOBSTERS. 

The lobsters come from Stornoway, Ireland, west and north coasts of Scotland, 

and Norway. The lobsters are more plentiful in hot weather than in cold Su ^ vly °f- 

weather. There are many lobsters from Norway in hot weather. Does not get 

them from Sussex. The lobsters here are measured from the tip of the nose to 

the end of the barrel. Would make it illegal to take any lobster under 4 inches Gauge. 

in the barrel. The berried hens should also be returned to the sea. The berried Berried. 

hens are valuable in the market. Thinks it would be possible to enforce a law 

compelling the return of berried hens. The berries might be removed, but an 

experienced fisherman would know that they had been removed. Does not 

think a close season would be advantageous. Gets no crayfish. Does not 

know why lobsters turn red when boiled. 

{Examined by Mr. Walpole.) Recommends 4^-inch gauge for crabs. A CRABS. 

5-inch gauge would be too large. The 5-inch gauge would not be a 

very serious injury to the Birmingham market. It would perhaps be Gauge - 
better for the salesman to have a 5-inch gauge. The poorer consumers now buy 
a 2d. or 3d. crab, and they would be deprived of these. On reconsidera- 
tion tlw 5-inch gauge is a very fair size. Does not wish to throw the 



68 



Enforcement 
of law. 



CRABS. 



Gauge. 
Soft. 



No decrease. 
LOBSTERS. 

No decrease. 
Gauge. 



Berried. 



Enforcement 
of law. 



CRABS. 
Gauge. 



Herried. 



responsibility of the law on the salesman, who is not primarily liable. 
The fisherman has the opportunity of returning the crab to the water. Is 
in favour of inspectors on the coast, to stop the capture of these crabs. The 
market inspector might write to the inspector on the shore, and ask him to 
search barrels. An unclean salmon is analogous to a white crab. It is illegal 
for fishermen to take and for salesmen to sell unclean salmon. Thinks there is 
nothing unjust in the law. The difPerence between crabs and salmon is that 
the crabs are packed in a barrel, and that it is impossible to see their size. It 
is possible to inspect a box of salmon, but it is impossible to inspect a barrel of 
crabs. Adheres to his opinion that an inspector should be appointed on the 
coasts to enforce the law, and thinks that such an inspector should be paid by 
the Government. 

(Examined by Mr. Buchland.) No crabs come here from Norfolk, and 
very few from Yorkshire. Some from Northumberland. There would be 
no difficulty in working the law on the coast. An inspector would get in- 
formation that small crabs were being sold on the coast, and could go down and 
stop it. The fishermen also would possibly carry out the law among themselves. 

Robert Edward Dexter (examined by Mr. Walpole). A commission agent 
in Birmingham, established 27 years in this town. All kinds of fish pass 
through his hands. His crabs come from the same places as Mr. Scott's. 
Agrees with Mr. Scott that the gauge for crabs should be no less than 5 inches. 
Agrees also that no light crabs should be sold. 

Birmingham is a market of distribution, and supplies places 100 and 120 
miles off. Sends bloaters down to the sea coast. The supply of crabs is not 
falling off, and the price has not on an average risen materially. 

Sometimes gets a good supply of lobsters in the winter time. The winter 
lobsters come from Scotland and Ireland. The Scotch lobsters are as good as 
any. The Norway lobster is good, but not so large. The lobsters come from 
all parts of Scotland, and are on on average much the same as formerly. 

Does not agree with Mr. Scott that no lobster should be sold under 4 inches in 
the barrel. The lobsters here are all sold by weight. It would be an injury to 
the trade if all lobsters under 8 inches were prohibited, as many Norway lobsters 
are below this size. Is not acquainted with Norway. Was not aware that the 
Norwegians were contemplating prohibiting the capture of lobsters under 8 
inches. If the Norwegians agreed to the 8-inch gauge, an 8-inch gauge for 
England would be beneficial to the public. Can make Is. a pound with 
large lobsters, and only 6d. a pound with small lobsters. 

Knows a berried hen or spawn lobster. Thinks they ought not to be taken. 
The spawn is generally given away. A spawn lobster ought to be left in the 
sea at any time of the year. Could detect the removal of the spawn if it were 
removed ; but could not tell whether the spawn were removed artificially or shot 
naturally. The prohibition of the sale of spawn lobsters would stop the 
practice to a great extent. Lobsters are brought from Norway in boxes. Does 
not know whether a lobster in transit might not extrude her berries from inside 
to outside. 

Thinks that the law ought to be enforced on the coasts. Does not think it 
could be enforced in the markets. Notices should be posted up to warn the 
fishermen. The Adulteration Act is very similar to this, and is enforced against 
the retailer. But the general feeling in Birmingham is that the law should 
be enforced on the coasts. This is the feeling of the Fish Association. This 
is an association formed by salesmen, who meet together three or four times 
a year. The Association has discussed this subject, and arrived at this conclu- 
sion. They are all anxious to have the law enforced on the coasts. Does not 
think it would involve any very great expense. Thinks that it ought to be 
illegal either to take or sell any undersized crab. If Parliament make it illegal 
to take a 5-inch crab, it must be illegal to sell it. 

(Examined by Mr. Buckland.) Thinks all berried crabs should be returned. 
Knows a hen from a cock crab by the tail. Often receives crabs with berries 
under the apron. Thinks berried crabs are unwholesome, and that they ought 
not to be sold. Thinks if the law were well posted up in every village, the 
fisherman would obey it, without the intervention of an inspector, and that 
the fishermen would carry out the law against themselves. 

Thomas Glassey (examined by Mr. Walpole). Afishdealer and poulterer in 
Birmingham. Wishes to point out that the salesmen are not retailers, and 



69 

that they do a large business, and that they only have an hour or two hours to Enforcement 
do it in the morning. It is absolutely impossible to examine every single fish °^ law ' 
that passes through their hands. The goods must be got away by a particular 
train, or they would lose the market, and the crabs would be left on their hands, 
and spoiled. Thinks too much stress has been laid on the expense of inspectors 
on the coasts, and that the National Exchequer might undertake the cost. 
There is a [statute imposing a penalty on fraudulently packing goods. Con- 
siders a parcel of crabs large at top and small at bottom a fraudulent packing, 
and that an action would lie for such packing. It would be unfair to impose 
such a law on the trader. 

(Examined by Mr. Wdlpole.) Agrees with Mr. Scott that no crab under CRABS. 
5 inches, or light crab, or berried crab should betaken; and that no lobster Gauge. 
under 8 inches in total length, and no berried lobster should be taken; but Berried. 
thinks that the law should be enforced on the coast, or by salesmen giving Soft. 
proof of fraudulent package. It might be made illegal to sell undersized crabs Enforcement 
and lobsters, provided that no salesman should be liable for selling a package °f law - 
of crabs which had been fraudulently packed, so that he was unable to see the 
small crabs at the bottom of the package. But the retailer should not sell the 
undersized crabs, and should only be liable for doing so if he failed to give 
notice to the duly constituted authorities of the receipt of such crabs, and the 
parties from whom he had received them. The prosecution should be on the 
first seller, and not on the subsequent salesman. 

William Smith Scott (recalled). It would be perfectly impossible to 
carry out the law without inspectors on the coast. Posting notices would not 
have the effect of inducing the fishermen to carry out the law. The law could 
not be carried out without an inspector. 

Joseph Smith (examined by Mr.Buckland). A fish-salesman at Birmingham. 
Hasbeen a fish-salesman f or more than 30 years. Sells crabs and lobsters wholesale. 
They come from the same places as Mr. Scott's. They have fallen off a little. But _ 
this is owing to the railways opening markets in every little town in the country. T^foomp™ 

Agrees to a 5-inch gauge for crabs, and an 8-inch gauge for lobsters. Is in 

favour of eating berried lobsters or berried crabs when they are in their prime Berried. 

and good. The law should be a law to prevent the sale of unseasonable 

lobsters, and not of berried lobsters. Lobsters are more or less in berry all the 

year round. Agrees to an 8-inch gauge for lobsters. If the law cannot be Gauge. 

carried out on the coasts it cannot be carried out in the markets. The crabs 

are sold in the market by the barrel without opening it. The person who buys 

them sells them all, small and big, and it would be a hardship to prevent his 

doing so. The retailer would not buy the crabs of the salesmen unless they 

were turned out on the floor and measured, and this would stop the trade 

altogether. There is only one way of enforcing the law, viz., by an inspector Enforcement 

on the coasts who can examine the crabs as they are caught. °^ 

William Hanman (examined by Mr. Walpole). A superintendent of 
markets, and inspector of game, fish, and meat in Birmingham. Has heard 
the evidence of previous witnesses. Thinks that the gauges suggested by 
the various salesmen are very proper. Parliament might make a law forbidding 
the consumption of undersized crabs and lobsters. The law must, to start 
with, be enforced at the waterside. It must be illegal for the fishermen to take, 
sell, or send away undersized, white, or berried fish. This law will not be suffi- 
cient. The retailer must also be held responsible. It must be illegal for the 
retailer to sell or expose for sale any of these prohibited fish. There would be 
no hardship in such a law. The fisherman takes undersized fish, he thereby 
commits an offence ; he sends these away to the salesman ; the salesman has 
no opportunity of examining that basket of fish, but transfers them to the 
retailer. The retailer has every opportunity of detecting undersized and 
improper fish, and should be held equally responsible with the fishermen. The 
retailer on finding undersized fish ought to give information to the authorities 
of his district, who in that case would take no proceedings against the retailer, 
because he has informed, and has not sold or exposed for sale. The retailer 
would probably arrange with the wholesaleman that he would take no fish 
unless he could guarantee him against loss from undersized and illegal fish, and 
the fishermen on the coasts would then find that it was no longer worth their 
while to send any undersized fish. 

It should be the object of the Act to make the law applicable to the fishermen 






70 



Enforcement 
of law. 



Supply offish 
to Birmingham 
market. 



and the retailer, but not to the wholesaleman unless he broke bulk, or broke 
open the barrel. This could be met by inserting the word " knowingly." It 
should be illegal to take, to buy, or to knowingly sell or expose for sale any 
undersized crabs or illegal fish. It would be necessary, however, to insert a 
definition of the word " knowingly," and not to exempt the wholesaleman 
unless he gave information as to the person from whom he received the 
package. 

The packages sold here do not always come from the fishermen. They are 
packed sometimes by intermediate packers, who do not necessarily see all they 
sell. 

There must be some one appointed at the waterside, or the Act would be use- 
less. Cannot say who this person should be. This official would have to be 
advised who the persons were who broke the law. 

David Southall (examined by Mr, Walpole). A retail fishmonger in 
Birmingham. Has heard the evidence. Agrees with the gauges and with the 
provisions as to berried lobsters and crabs. Thinks the law could only be 
carried out by the prohibition of the sale of these illegal fish. There is no 
hardship in making the retailer liable if he boils and exposes for sale an illegal 
fish. If he found illegal fish he would throw them back on the wholesaleman. 
The wholesaleman would suffer, because the fishermen would send to some 
other salesman, the competition among the salesmen being to get the fish. 
This would work itself round in time. The salesmen would refuse to receive 
the undersized fish, and the fishermen would cease to send them. If it were 
made illegal to sell illegal fish, the retailers would return the fish to the sales- 
men, the salesmen to the fishermen, and the sale would be checked. The 
coastguard might assist in carrying out the law, but reliance must mainly be 
placed on the law of sale. Where no coastguard exist, some other persons 
might be empowered to act in their place. One barrel of good crabs is worth 
three barrels of bad crabs. 

William Hanman (recalled). Puts in following statement of average daily 
supply of fish to Birmingham market : — 

2,000 boxes of mackerel, 2 cwt. each. 
2,000 barrels of fresh herrings, }\ cwt. each. 
400 boxes of salmon, 2\ cwt. each. 
50 to 60 barrels of crabs, 1 cwt. to \\ cwt. each. 
20 barrels and baskets of lobsters, 1 cwt. each. 
1,500 packages of plaice, 2 cwt. each. 
200 packages of cod, 2 cwt. each. 
20 packages of conger eels, 2 cwt. each. 
10 to 20 packages of skate, 2 cwt. each. 
The total supply of all kinds of fish in the Birmingham market varies from 
50 to 200 tons per day. 



71 



INDEX TO EVIDENCE. 

(ENGLAND AND WALES.) 



ADAMS, Rev., G. D., Evidence of, 59. 
Allis, John, Evidence of, 59. 
Andrews, John, Evidence of, 42. 
Archibald, James, Evidence of, 33. 
Armstrong, William/^Evidence of, 37. 
Ash, A., Evidence of, 55. 

BAIT for crabs and lobsters (see " Crabs, bait for," and " Lobsters, bait for "). 

Barber, H., Evidence of, 28. 

Bate, C. Spence, F.R.S., Evidence of, 56. 

Bedlington, R., Evidence of, 51. 

Bent, George, Evidence of, 59. 

Berried Crabs : 

Capture of, should be prohibited, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 22, 24, 29, 34, 

36, 42, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 
56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 68, 69. 

— in January, February, and March, 53. 

should not be prohibited, 3, 69. 

Are thrown overboard, 3, 4, 6, 18, 22, 38, 48, 52, 54, 66. 
Berried Lobsters : 

Capture of, should be prohibited, 5, 7, 8. 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 29, 31. 

42, 43, 45, 46, 50, 51, 52, 58, 67, 68, 
69. 

from January to March, 54. 

in May and June, 55. 

should not be prohibited, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 15, 16, 18, 22 26 39 

49, 52, 53, 55, 60, 62, 64, 69. 
Few come from Norway, 25. 
Keeping of, in pots, 15, 22, 24. 
Use and value of, 24, 26, 31, 37, 40, 50. 
Berries : 

Could be removed from crabs without detection, 3, 24. 

lobsters without detection, 8, 13, 15, 23, 24, 26, 62. 

Could not be removed from crabs without detection, 68. 

lobsters without detection, 5, 10, 29, 50, 67. 

Billing, James, Evidence of, 4. 

Peter, Evidence of, 5. 

Billingsgate : 

Mode of counting at, 26, 27. 
Price of crabs and lobsters at, 25. 
Supply of crabs and lobsters at, 24, 25, 29. 

from abroad, 2/. 

Bird, Mr., Evidence of, 7. 
Birdsall, S, Evidence of, 49. 
Birmingham Market, importance of, 68. 

su PPty offish to, 70 

Blackwell, Henry, Evidence of, 15. 



72 

Blue Lobsters : 

Of North Wales, 5/. 

Of Norway, 6, 10, 24, 57. 
Boats and pots : 

Increased number of, 4. 6, 9, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 
40, 45, 47, 50, 52, 55, 56 3 57, 59. 

Decreased number of, 4, 8, 9, 33. 
Bognor : 

Lobsters are small at, 27, 29. 

Crabs are small at, 61. 
Bolam, Thomas, Evidence of, 39. 
Bolitho, John, Evidence of, 8. 
Bond, Stephen, Evidence of, 15, 18. 
Brunton, Joseph, Evidence of, 37. 
Buckley, E., Evidence of, 22. 

W., Evidence of, 22 

Burland, H., Evidence of, 28. 

CARR, Robert, Evidence of, 35. 
Chadwick, Samuel, Evidence of, 48. 
Chambers, C. H., Evidence of, 11. 
Channel Islands, crabs and lobsters from, 67. 
Chard, Arthur, Evidence of, 11. 

John, Evidence of, 8. 

Climo, Joseph, Evidence of, 7, 8, 23. 

Richard, Evidence of, 6. 

Close Season : 

For Crabs, recommended : — 

1st February to 30th June, 33. 

May to December, 32. 

1st June to 31st August, 36. 

30th September, 39. 

30th November, 33. 

1st July to 30th September. 37, 39. 

30th November, 34. 

31st January, 34, 35, 37. 

August and September, 44. 

1st September to 31st January, 58. 

28th February, 14, 20. 

1st October to 14th February (inshore), 60. 

1st March, 8, 10, 24. 

1st November to 1st March, 7. 

In the autumn, 25. 
For female crabs, recommended : 

March to May, 57. 

Michaelmas to Lady-day, 54. 

October to December, 53. 
For Lobsters, recommended : — 

January to March, 9. 

1st February to 31st May, 33. 

May to September, 8. 

1st June to 31st August 36. 

30th September, 34, 37, 39. 

30th November, 33, 34. 

1st July to 30th September, 37, 39. 

31st January, 35. 

August, 8. 

and September, 44. 

1st September to 31st January, '/, 58. 
1st October to 14th February, 60. 
1st March, 8, 24. 



73 

Close Season — cont. 

For Lobsters, recommended : — 
1st November to 1st March, 7. 
15th November to 15th February, 65, 66. 
December to 1st February, 65. 
In the autumn, 25. 
For female lobsters, recommended : — 
1st March to 1st April, 9. 
May and June, 57. 
1st July to 15th August, 31. 
Local, Difficulty in enforcing, 25, 28, 29. 
Not necessary, 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 15, 27, 38, 40, 45, 46, 48, 53, 56. 
Observed at Hawxley, 39. 

at N. Sunderland, 32, 33. 

Natural, for Crabs and Lobsters, on account of bad [weather, 3, 7, 8, 17, 19, 

34, 42, 46, 55, 57, 60. 

on account of fishing for other fish, 3, 

7, 9, 13, 17, 21, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 
41, 43, 47, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55. 
For Lobsters in Norway, 24, 25. 
Coastguard should enforce law, 9. 
Colley, Jameson, Evidence of, 42. 
Collins, Richard, Evidence of, 9, 12. 
Conder, Rev. A., Evidence of, 64. 
Cooper, Thomas, Evidence of, 60. 
Cornish, T., Evidence of, 13. 
Cornish crabs are good, 27. 

lobsters are bad, 27. 

Cowper, Harrison, Evidence of, 44. 

Matthew, Evidence of, 43. 

Crabs : 

Bait for, 4, 12, 14, 22, 23, 37, 42, 44, 46, 50, 52, 54, 56, 60. 

Berried (see " Berried crabs "). 

Black, 45, 63, 64. 

Boiling of, 5, 9, 24, 27, 42, 44, 50, 58, 59, 60, 61, 67. 

Breeding of (see " Crabs, spawning of"). 

Bury themselves in the winter, 23, 38, 46, 50, 57. 

Casting their shell, 1, 2, 3, 9, 18, 22. 29, 31, 32, 33, 36, 38, 39 s 41, 42, 43, 

44, 51, 52, 53, 55, 57, 58, CO, 63, 66, 67. 
Colour of, varies with the ground, 56, 64. 
Crawl best after a storm, 19, 48, 50, 54, 58. 

least before a storm, 16, 17. 

Caught best at night, 17, 3/. 

in warm rainy weather, 7. 

hot weather, 17. 

thick water, 65. 

after a storm, 19, 48, 50, 54, 58. 



- least in frosty weather, 38, 60. 
east winds, 16, 48. 

— on sand, 2, 3, 62. 

in rocks and stones, 2, 5, 21, 36, 39; 41, 48. 



Decrease in numbers:— Selsea, 7, 66 ; Sidmouth, 7 ; Polperro, 8, 22; Polruan, 
8,23; St. Ives, 8; Falmouth, 8, 10, 1.1 ; St. Mawes] 
9, 10, 11, 12; Lizard, 10; Durgan, 12, 13; Land's 
End, 14; Penzance (inshore), 13; Penberth, 17; 
Prussia Cove, 17; Cadgwith, 19, 20; East Looe, 
20, 21 ; London, 24, 25 ; Southport, 30, 31 ; North 
Sunderland, 32 ; Craster, 33, 34 ; Cullercoats. 35, 37, 

39, 40 ; Newbiggin, 36 ; Hawxley, 38 ; Whitby' 

40, 41,42; Staithes, 41, 42; Robin Hood's Bay] 
43, 44; Scarborough, 44, 45, 46 ; Bridlington, 50; 
Prawle, 53, 54 ; Plymouth, 55 ; Budleigh Salter- 
ton 59 (shes and inshore), 60. 



74 



Crabs : 



Decrease in size : — Mevagissey, 4, 5 ; Sidmouth, 7 ', Budleigh Salterton, 7 ; 
Polruan, 8; Penzance, 15; Polperro, 22; London, 
25 ; Southport, 31 ; North Sunderland, 32 ; 
Beadnell (inshore), 34; Hawxley, 38; Whitby, 
40, 42; Scarborough, 44; Flamborough, 48., 49; 
Bridlington, 51 ; Selsea, 66. Generally, 67. 

Different species of, 29, 51, 56, 61. 

Enemies of, 16, 33, 48. 

Food of, 2, 16, 38, 54, 62. 

Growth of, 1, 3, 23, 41, 51, 60. 

effect of temperature on, 56. 

Habitat, 2, 3, 5, 21, 36, 39, 41, 48, 62. 

Increase in numbers: — Gorran Haven, 3, 6; Porthgwarra, 16; Sennen, 
18; Cadgwith, 19; Polperro, 22; Cr aster, 33, 
(in shore) 34. 

Increased demand for, 3, 9, 14, 27, 32. 

Injured by pollution, 38, 39, 40. 

east wind, 48. 

Kept in store pots and pits, (see " Store pits.") 

Light (see " Crabs, soft.") 

Migration of, 2, 3, 10, 14, 17, 21, 22, 23, 36, 38, 41, 46, 49, 50, 52, 54, 60, 
61, 63. 

Mode of counting, 1, 3, 8, 13, 18, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27,40, 48, 49, 55, 56,61. 

Nicking and plugging of, 5, 9, 13, 23, 62. 

No decrease : — Gorran Haven, 4, 5, 6; Mevagissey, 5 ; Land's End, 16; 
Porthgwarra, 17; Sennen, 18; Cadgwith, 19 ; Beadnell, 34 ; Hawxley, 
37; Flamborough, 49; Bridlington, 49; Hall Sands, 52; Beeson 
Sands, 52 ; Hope, 54 ; Plymouth, 56 ; Wembury, 57, 59 ; Bolt Head, 
59; Generally, 64,^68. 

Ova, number of, in, 57. 

Oysters attached to, 56. 

Pollutions, effect of (see " Pollutions.") 

Price of, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 17, 19, 20, 21, 27, 30, 32, 35, 36, 51, 52, 58, 62. 

Relative quantities of males and females, 1, 13, 16, 17, 19,46, 47, 53, 54, 

61, 63. 

values of males and females, 27, 56, 57, 58, 60. 

Season for, 1, 7, 14, 18, 31, 32, 38, 60, 63. 

Sent away alive, 58, 61. 

Small, are thrown overboard, 2, 6, 15, 38, 42. 

used to be thrown overboard, 10. 

on the north-east and south coast, 27, 29, 45, 46, 48, 49, 51, 61. 

Soft do not need protection, 16, 26. 

found all the year round on certain ground, 56. 

on sand, 41. 

used as bait, 16, 65. 

should be returned, 2, 8, 21, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34, 44, 45, 46, 51, 52, 

56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69. 

are returned, 35, 36, 44, 49, 50, 51, 54, 58. 

Spawning of, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 14, 17, 18, 22, 23, 27, 32, 34, 36, 38, 39, 42, 
45, 46, 47, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 63, 66. 

Storms, effect of on, (see tf Weather.") 

Travel with claws tied, 10, 11. 

Used for bait, 2, 4, 8, 9, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 33, 42, 53, 54. 

Value of as food, 36, 57. 

Weight of meat in, 8, 14. 

White (see " Crabs, soft.") 
Crayfish : 

At Scilly, 2. 

Decrease of, 6, 17, 20, 29,34. 

Migration of, 6, 16, 19, 20. 

Should be protected, 7, 8, 9, 29, 58. 

Season for, 16. 

Sent to Paris, 62. 



75 

Crayfish — cont. 

Trade in, 64. 

Value of, 15, 29, 57. 

Vary in numbers, 16', 19, 20. 

Warm weather good for, 19. 
Creels : 

Use of, 32, 34, 39, 41, 45, 48, (see also " Tots " and " Trunks "). 
Crook, James, Evidence of, 30. 
Crowe, William, Evidence of, 48. 



DALTON, James, Evidence of, 45. 
Dawson, George, Evidence of, 33. 

• Charles, Evidence of, 34. 

John, Evidence of, 35. 

Dent, Robert, Evidence of, 36. 
Dexter, R. E., Evidence of, 6$. 
Dickson, Isaac, Evidence of, 34. 
Dog crabs, 51. 

Dogs employed to carry lines to boats, 53. 
Downie, Colin, Evidence of, 36. 
Downing, John, Evidence of, 10. 
Dunn, Matthias, Evidence of, 1. 



EMERSON, Robert, Evidence of, 49. 
Enforcement of law, 9, 28, 29, 30, 68, 69, 70. 



FELL, James, Evidence of, 41. 

Panton, Evidence of, 4/. 

Fisher, W. B., Evidence of, 25. 
Forster, John, Evidence of, 57. 
Fox, Howard, Evidence of, 10. 
France, lobsters from, 25, 26, 62, 63. 
berried lobsters prohibited in, 25. 



GAUGE : 

For Crabs, recommended : 

3 inches, 32. 

3\ inches, 41, 42. 

4 inches, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 42,44, 48, 49, 51. 
for females, 8, 19, 21, 58. 

4i inches, 8, 21, 22, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49, 50, 51, 66. 
A\ inches, 35, 45, 46, 47, 48, 67. 
for females, 20, 23. 

5 inches, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 32, 55, 57, 59. 

60, 61, 67, 68, 69. 

for males, 8, 19, 22,58. 

females, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 63, 64. 

5| inches, 2, 13. 

for females, 11, 13. 

males, 14. 

6 inches, 11, 12, 27, 28, 30, 52, 53, 54, 61. 

for females, 8, 9, 10. 

■ males, 5, 11, 12, 63, 64. 



76 

Gauge — cont. 

For Crabs, recommended : 

8 inches for males, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10. 

females, 5. 

Jib. weight, 66. 
|lb. weight, 7. 
For Cray-fish, recommended : 

10 inches, 29. 

11 inches, 9. 

For Lobsters, recommended : 

6 inches, 6, 8, 21, 22. 
6| inches, 65, 66. 

7 inches, 8, 20, 58. 
V-i iTinhes ^5 56 

S'inches. 5, 11, 26, 28, 2.9, 55, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 68, 69. 
8| inches, 8, 12, 13, 14. 
9,inches, 9, 10, 11, 28, 31. 

10 inches, 7. 

11 inches, 63. 

3| inches in the barrel, 26, 41, 42. 

4 inches in the barrel, 24, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45 

46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52. 
4^ inches in the barrel, 44. 
i lb. weight, 7, 64, 65. 
| lb. weight, 7. 
1 lb. weight, 7, 31. 
1| lbs. for berried hens, 56. 
Observed at Hawxley, 39. 

Anstruther, 47. 

Bridlington, 50. 

Formerly used, 46. 
Difficulty in enforcing, 26, 28, 30. 
George, John, Evidence of, 18. 

William, Evidence of, 18. 

Gibbon, J., Evidence of, 51. 
Glassey, T., Evidence of, 68. 
Grainger, B., Evidence of, 44. 
Green, William, Evidence of, 11. 

HALL, Thomas, Evidence of, 34. 

Hanman, Wm., Evidence of, 69, 70. 

Harbottle, G., Evidence of, 39. 

Hargate, J., Evidence of, 54. 

Harnden, Capt. J., Evidence of, 63. 

Harvey, James, Evidence of, 27. 

Heligoland, crabs and lobsters from, 26. 

Heritage, Robert, Evidence of, 46. 

Herring fishing, close time for crabs during, 37, 48. 

Hockaday, J., Evidence of, 58. 

Hot weather prejudicial to carriage of shell fish, 28. 

Howard, William, Evidence of, 31. 

Hullies, 33. 

Hunkin, J., Evidence of, 6. 

Hutchins, William, Evidence of, 52. 

INSECTS destroying crabs, 16. 
Inspectors should be appointed, 68. 
Ireland, crabs and lobsters from, 24, 30, 67. 
Isle of Man, crabs and lobsters from, 30, 31, 67 . 



77 



JACKSON, T., Evidence of, 15. 
James, James, Evidence of, 12. 

S. H., Evidence of, 14, 15. 

Jane, Anthony, Evidence of, 1.9, 20. 
Joliffe, Charles, Evidence of, 22. 
Jones, Henry, Evidence of, 17. 

KELYNACK, John, Evidence of, 18. 
Kennerley, J. C, Evidence of, 10. 
Kingcund, W., Evidence of, 59. 

LAUGHRIN, E., Evidence of, 8, 22. 
Legge, William, Evidence of, 7, 66. 
Leonard, T., Evidence of, 59. 
Ley, Thomas, Evidence of, 4. 
Lisle, W., Evidence of, 38. 
Little, John, Evidence of, 21. 

R., Evidence of, 20. 

Lobsters : 

Bait for, 4, 12, 14, 21, 22, 23, 33, 37, 46, 54, 6b. 

Berried (see " Berried lobsters "), 

Boiling of, 5, 60. 

Breeding of, (see "Lobsters, spawning of"). 

Breed in weeds on mud, 65. 

Casting their shell, 9, 37, 39. 

Caught best at night, 37, 47, 65. 

in fine weather, 6, 65, 67. 

July, 65. 

among weeds, 37. 

on rocks, 3, 21, 39, 48, 62. 

— least in hot weather, 21 . 

frosty weather, 38. 



Colour of, 6, 10, 24, 57. 
Decrease in numbers: — Gorran Haven, 3; Mevagissey, 5; Fowey, 5; 
Bognor, 7, 64 ; Selsea, 7, 64 ; Sidmouth, 7 ; East Looe, 7 ; 
Polperro, 8, 22 ; Polruan, 8, 23 ; St. Ives, 8 ; Falmouth, 8, 
11 ; St. Mawes, 9, 10, 11 ; Durgan, 12, 13; Land's End, 
14; Penzance, 15, (inshore), 13; Penberth, 14, 17; 
Porthgwarra, 15; Cadgwith, 19, 20; East Looe, 20, 21; 
N, Sunderland, 32 ; Craster, 33 ; Cullercoats, 35, 37, 39, 
40; Newbiggin, 36; Whitby, 41 ; Staithes, 42; Robin 
Hood's Bay, 44; Scarborough, 44, 45; Plymouth, 55; 
Wembury, 58 ; Eddy stone, 58. 

in size : — Sidmouth, 7 ; Polruan, 8 ; Penberth, 14, 17 ; Penzance, 

15; Southport, 31; N. Sunderland, 32; Whitby, 40; 
Scarborough, 44, 46 ; Hall Sands, 52; Prawle, 53, 54. 

Different species of, 6, 10, 24, 57- 

Eggs of, number of, 23, 57. 

Enemies of, 22, 46, 50. 

Fighting, 59. 

Food of, 6, 37, 38, 56, 62. 

French, 25, 26, 62, 63. 

Growth of, 9, 63. 

Habitat, 3. 

Increase in numbers : — Porthgwarra, 16; Sennen, 18 ; Craster, 33. 

Increased demand for, 9, 14. 

Kept in store pots and pits (see " Store pits "). 

Large on new ground, 59. 

Migration of, 10, 14, 15, 20, 21, 32, 33, 50. 

Mode of counting, 14, 15, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27- 

Nicking and plugging of, 5, 13, 14, 21, 24, 27, 33, 51, 54, 60, 62. 



78 

Lobsters — cont. 

No decrease, 22 : — Gorran Haven, 4, 5 ; Mevagissey, 5 ; Sennen, 15, 18 
Land's End, 16; Porthgwarra, 17; Cadgwith, 19 
Hawxley, 37, 38; Cullercoats, 38; Hope, 54 
Plymouth, 56; Wembury, 58, 59; Generally, 68. 

Norwegian, (see " Norway "). 

Pollution, effect of on, (see " Pollutions "). 

Price of, 2, 3, 4, 5, 15, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 37, 41, 45. 

Relative numbers of male and female, 32. 

Season for, 3. 7, 18, 27, 28, 45, 68. 

Small at Bognor, 64, 65. 

Spawning of, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21. 22, 23, 24, 27, 32. 36, 
37, 39, 43, 45, 46, 48, 50, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, 63, 65, 69. 

Storms, effect of on, (see " Weather "). 

Value of, as human food, 36, 57- 

MANN, Captain Henry, Evidence of, 47- 
Marshall, George, Evidence of, 46. 
Mason, William, Evidence of, 33. 
Medland, John, Evidence of, 21. 
Mills, John, Evidence of, 66. 
Mitchell, James, Evidence of, 20. 

NICHOLAS, R., Evidence of, 18. 
Nightingale, George, Evidence of, 45. 
Norway : 

Close season in, 24, 25, 63. 

Lobsters from, 6, 10, 24, 25, 26, 27, 63. 

colour of, 6, 10, 24, 57. 

trade in, would be injured by an 8-inch gauge, 10, 24, 25, 63. 

ultimately benefited by 8-inch gauge, 63. 

No crabs from, 63. 

OLIVER, R., Evidence of, 22. 
T., Evidence of, 39. 

PASCOE, H., Evidence of, 12. 

Pater son, R., Evidence of, 32. 

Paton, D., Evidence of, 6. 

Pawlyn, James, Evidence of, 5. 

Pengelly, E., Evidence of, 21. 

Phillips, Robert, Evidence of, 53. 

Pilchard nets prevent crab fishing, 7, 9, 13, 17, 21, 55. 

Poland, C, Evidence of, 24. 

Pollard, T., Evidence of, 6. 

Pollutions destroying crabs and lobsters, 38, 39, 40, 55, 56, 57. 

Pomeroy, R., Evidence of, 3. 

Pots: 

Size of and mode of using, 2, 3, 4, 9, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 37, 41, 43, 
48, 49, 50, 52, 55, 56. 58, 60, 61, 64, 65. 

Mesh of, 46, 56, 58. 

Cost of, 59. 

Number of, should be limited, 45. 

(See also " Creels " and " Trunks.") 
Pratt, R., Evidence of, 59. 
Prawn pots catch small lobsters, 64. 
Prawns, capture of, 60, 64, 66. 
Prynne, William, Evidence of, 21. 
Putt, R., Evidence of, 53. 
Purcell, W., Evidence of, 47. 



79 . 

RAILWAYS, effect of, on crabs and lobster fisheries, 9, 10, 15, 26, 32, 41, 51, 

61, 62, 65, 69. 
Readman, W., Evidence of, 41. 
Reid, J. Cameron, M.D., Evidence of, 36. 
Retallack, William, Evidence of, 13. 
Richards, Captain Henry, Evidence of, 17. 

John, Evidence of, 65. 

Rings, use of, (see " Trunks "). 
Roach, J., Evidence of, 55. 
Robson, W., Evidence of, 32. 
Rodd, W. EL, Evidence of, 15. 
Roper, J., Evidence of, 53. 
Rose wall, Mr., Evidence of, 8. 
Ross, Martin, Evidence of, 58. 
Rowe, R., Evidence of, 16. 
Rutter, E., Evidence of, 18, 20. 

SAMUEL, John, Evidence of, 29. 
Scilly Islands, Crustacea at, 2, 14. 
Scotch crabs are small, 24. 

not very valuable, 29. 

lobsters are small, 25. 

Scott, W. S., Evidence of, 6/, 69. 
Scottar, J., Evidence of, 51. 
Scovell, J., Evidence of, 64. 

R.. Evidence of,, 61. 

Sellers, J. H., Evidence of, 44, 46. 

Shetland, lobsters from, 6. 

Simpson, George, Evidence of, 38. 

Skye lobsters are small, 29. 

Smacks, carrying crabs and lobsters, 32. 

Smales, Thomas, Evidence of, 40. 

Smith, J., Evidence of, 69. 

Southall, D., Evidence of, 70. 

Spider crabs used for bait, 2, 4, 12, 14, 17, 23. 

Steamers injure crab pots, 54. 

Stephens, F., Evidence of, 19. 

J., Evidence of, 34. 

Stevenson, George, Evidence of, 25. 

W., Evidence of, 48. 

Store pits and pots, crabs and lobsters kept in, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 27, 29, 33, 

54, 57, 62, 63, 64. 
Stork, William, Evidence of, 49. 
Storm, Isaac, Evidence of, 43. 
Sweden, lobsters from, 25, 26. 
Symons, John, Evidence of, 14. 

TAYLOR, A., Evidence of, 39. 

Temperature, effect of, on crabs and lobsters, 7, 16, 17, 38, 56, 60. 

fish, 47. 

Texel trawling ground, crabs on, 46, 47. 
Thompson, Richard, Evidence of, 42. 

Thomas, Evidence of, 47- 

Thornton, W., Evidence of* 54, 

40353. I 



80 

Trade in Crustacea, 62, 63, 64, 65, 70. 

Trammels should be prohibited from January to September, 8. 

use of, 11, 15, 18, 19. 

Trawlers injure the crab and lobster fisheries, 3, 22, 23, 38, 43, 44, 46, 52, 53, 

57, 58, 59, 60. 

do good by killing small fish as food for others, 46. 

destroy small fry, 47, 59. 

Trawling, inshore, does no harm, 47. 

Tremayne, John, M.P., Evidence of, 7- 

Tresize, Joseph, Evidence of, 12. 

Trunks, use of, 32, 37, 41, 42, 43, 45, 51 (see also " Pots " and " Creels "). 

UNWHOLESOME fish, regulations for seizure of, 27, 28, 29. 

WALKER, William, Evidence of, 47. 

Warcop, John, Evidence of, 50. 

Weather, effect of, on crabs and lobsters, 6, 7, 16, 17, 19, 21, 28, 37, 38, 48, 50, 

54, 58, 60, 65, 67. 
Webber, T., Evidence of, 10. 
Welled smacks, use of, 62. 
Wells, George, Evidence of, 52. 
Wheeler, Rev. R. F., Evidence of, 40. 
Willcox, J. C, Evidence of, 57. 
Winder, E., Evidence of, 28. 
Woodall, J. W., Evidence of, 47. 
Wraggles, J., Evidence of, 7. 
Wrasse pots, 9. 
Wright, William, Evidence of, 31. 



APPENDICES 

TO 

REPORT ON THE CRAB AND LOBSTER 
FISHERIES 

OF 

SCOTLAND. 



APPENDIX No. I. 
EVIDENCE, 



Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, Thursday, 5th October 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland, Spencer Walpole, and Archibald Young, 

Esquires. 

John Anderson (examined by Mr. Buckland). Is a fishmonger at Edinburgh. CRABS. 

Has been in business 44 years. Crabs have decreased very much. The 

decrease began fully ten years ago, and is both in size and numbers. They 
have decreased more than half. A large quantity of crabs come from Dunbar, 
Crail, Buckhaven, and North Berwick. At one time (20 years ago), North 
Berwick and Crail were the prominent places for crabs in the Firth. The j) ecrease , 
crabs have fallen off in size. Has seen a crab 10 inches across the back. 
These large crabs are principally males, and are comparatively rare. The 
average size of crabs now brought into market is about six inches, though they 
are brought as low as four inches : a great many under 4f inches. At North 
Berwick and Crail most of the crabs are males, and at Dunbar and Newhaven 
most of them are females. Thinks the crabs spawn about 1st August. Has Spawning. 
seen them full of eggs at that time. These crabs are from 5 to 7 inches. Flas 
seen crabs in the market of 2 inches, a great many of this size. The fishermen 
keep everything they get. They sell crabs by the kit. A kit contains from Mode of count- 
four to ten dozen crabs, according to the size. There are not many crabs in 9- 
exported from Edinburgh ; but they are sent from Dunbar, Buckhaven, and 
Crail to all parts of England where there is a market for anything. The 
scarcity is due to the large demand for crabs in England. Before the railway 
was made the demand for England was small. The crab pots are put down 
day and night all the year round, but more especially in the summer. The 
bars of the pots are about two inches apart. The scarcity is also due to the Pots. 
crabs being taken of so small a size. Thinks that no crab less than 6 inches 
across the back should be taken. This should apply to both males and females. 
No crabs should be taken with roe at any time of the year ; they should all be 
returned. The crabs are all boiled alive. They are generally put into boiling Boiling. 
water ; sometimes into cold water; but are never previously killed. Thinks if 
the legislation proposed were enforced, it would ultimately have a good effect. 

(By Mr. Young.) Has only spoken yet as to Firth of Forth. There is also a 
large supply from the Moray Firth and the north-west coast of Scotland. Crabs 
come from every part of the coast of Scotland. Is not in favour of the close Close time. 
time recommended in the Norfolk Report.* Sees most crabs in spawn in June, 

* Report on Fisheries of Norfolk ; Parliamentary Paper, No. 428, 1875. 

i 2 



CRABS. 



Berried. 
Gauge. 



Decrease. 



Price. 



Close time. 



Berried. 



Used for bait. 



Enforcement of 
laic. 



LOBSTERS. 



Decrease. 



Price. 

Gauge. 



Spawning. 



Berried. 



Plugging. 



Close time. 



July, and August, and would propose a close time during those months. Is in 
favour of returning all berried crabs to the water. Would extend prohibition 
of un sizeable crabs to 6 inches across the back. It should be illegal to buy, 
sell, or have in possession for sale, all unsizeable crabs. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Has been in business for 44 years. Purchases from an 
agent who takes the whole take of particular fishermen. Is sure the decrease of 
crabs is due to a decreased supply of crabs and over fishing. The railway has 
diverted many of the crabs to other markets, but the decrease in the sea is 
absolute. There may perhaps be as many crabs in the sea, but they are 
smaller. The decrease, therefore, is not a decrease in number, but a decrease in 
size. In consequence of increased demand for crabs it pays fishermen to catch 
smaller crabs. When he commenced business in 1832 he could buy a dozen 
(12) crabs for \0d. A dozen crabs would be now 3s. This refers to medium 
sized crabs. 

There is a considerable demand for crabs in June, July, and August. There 
would at first be a good deal of indignation among the crab eaters at these 
months being closed, but it is necessary to close them. The decrease in crabs 
in the sea is a decrease in size, and if the capture of all small crabs were pre- 
vented, it would enable them to grow up into large crabs, and so reduce the de- 
crease. The close season, if introduced, must apply to the whole of England 
and Scotland; sees great difficulty in this. It would be useless to have a local 
law. If it were impossible to close the Cornish fisheries in June, July, and 
August, it would be useless to close the Scotch fisheries. 

Proposes that all berried crabs should be returned to the water. Fishermen 
could not pick the berries clean off. The fishermen might be tempted to do so, 
but any skilled person could detect this at once. Sees a great many berried 
crabs, but only in the summer. Fishermen frequently cut crabs up for bait. 
Don't do it so much now as they used to do. The crabs are worth too much 
money. If it were made illegal to sell berried crabs they would not be broken 
up, because there is too little meat in them to make it worth while. 

(By Mr. Young.) There are about 24 stations where the White Herring 
Board have fishery officers,* and they might possibly carry out the provisions of 
an Act of Parliament. They would be the proper persons to do so. The 
salmon watchers might also assist. There would be an officer of the White 
Herring Board at all the stations at which the crabs are taken. At the time 
the crabs are taken these officers have not much to do. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The lobsters come from almost all quarters — Orkneys, 
Shetlands, West Highlands, and various stations in the Firth of Forth. They 
have diminished both in size and number. The decrease began 20 to 25 years 
ago. They have decreased one half in the last 20 years. About 20 years ago 
you could get lobsters for Is. apiece which would now cost 2s. or 2s. 6d. 
Lobsters used to be gauged from the tip of the nose to the end of the barrel. 
4^ inches used to be their gauge, and this would be equivalent to a lobster 8 to 
9 inches long. Every lobster under this size used to be returned. This was 
in accordance with an agreement between the dealers and the fishermen. Xo 
lobster of less than 8 inches should be taken from the sea. The falling off of 
lobsters is due to taking lobsters too small, and to taking berried lobsters in the 
breeding season, and to the increased demand. The lobsters are chiefly in 
berry in June, July, and August, but you may get berried lobsters at any 
time of the year. The berried hens are good to eat, but there is not so mucL 
meat in them as in others. There is a great demand for berried hens. They 
are more valuable than any other lobsters. Thinks that all berried lobsters 
should be returned to the water, even though the cooks should suffer. It 
would not be possible to remove the berries so that a skilled man should not 
know that they had been removed. Very few lobsters are plugged now, they 
are mostly tied. Thinks that plugging injures the flesh. Has seen lobsters 
as small as 6 inches. An 8-inch lobster would be about two years old. 
There are no reservoirs in Scotland for keeping lobsters ezcept at Canty Bay. 
The only legislation he recommends for lobsters is return of berried hens in 
June, July, and August, and return of unsizeable lobsters. 

(By Mr. Young.) Would prefer to haA-e June, July, and August entirely 
closed for lobsters and crabs, and that the fishery officers under the White 



See Appendix, No. II., page 65. 



Herring 1 Fishery Board should carry out the law. Has never known of a 
prosecution under 9 Geo. II. c. 33, sec. 4, but approves of the close season 
fixed by that Act. The close season at present is systematically violated. 

James Johnson, Montrose (examined by Mr. Youny). Has been a lessee CRABS, 
of fishings and a fish salesman for 35 years, and has had great experience in crab 
and lobster fisheries. There are more crabs taken now from Anstruther on the 
coast of Fifeshire to Gourdon than there used to be, but they are smaller in size, Decreased size. 
they are closer netted. Attributes the falling off in size to additional demand and 
increased price. The price is threefold what it was 30 years ago. A fisherman Price. 
now gets Is. 6d. or Is. 9d. where he used to get 6d. The crab season is a 
short season ; he would have no close season. Thinks a 6-inch gauge would be Gauge. 
rather large for some parts of the district. Thinks a 5|-inch gauge would be a 
better gauge for fishermen, but the 6-inch gauge would compensate them in 
the long run. If there is a close season it must be in June, this would be suffi- Close time. 
cient. In July and August the crab fishers are away on the herring fishery. 
There is a difficulty about the gauge because bait is scarce, and small crabs Used for bait. 
would be used for bait when the fishermen are far from the mussel beds. Is 
certain that in many districts, if there was a gauge, the crabs would be broken 
up for bait. He would increase the space between the bar of the crab pots p ts. 
and the mesh of the nets. Would have a larger mesh for the pots. The 
mesh ought to be about 4 inches from knot to knot. 

There is a difficulty about the mesh because a lobster will go through a 
mesh which would keep a crab. Thinks it would be beneficial to close June Close time. 
altogether on the coast of Scotland, notwithstanding the case of the Cornish 
fisheries. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Proposes as an experiment to close the month of July. It 
must be made illegal to sell lobsters and crabs in close season, and the sale 
must be prohibited universally, or the sale must be authorised by a justice of 
the peace. The Cornish crabs and lobsters might be sold in June on a 
magistrate's order. The certificate might be given by the coastguard. Thinks LOBSTERS, 
the Cornish crabs and lobsters might easily be known from the others. There 
are only a few old fishermen fishing in July and August. 

Cannot prevent the capture of berried hens. It would be just as wise to Berried. 
prohibit the capture of full herrings as to prohibit the capture of berried hens. 

James Muirhead, fishmonger in Queen Street, Edinburgh. (By Mr. WaU CRABS. 

pole.) 20 years in business. Has been extensively engaged in dealing in crabs 

and lobsters, obtaining them from Dunbar, North Berwick, Crail, Buckhaven, 
Cockenzie, and Newhaven. Buys through an agent and is also in the whole- 
sale way. There are more fishermen at these places than there were 20 years Boats. 
ago. There are nearly double the number fishing. The men make a very 
good trade, the price has increased much. 10 to 20 dozen crabs is a fair day's 
take per boat. 20 years ago it would have been four or five dozen larger. Decrease. 
The gross take of all the boats is greater than it was, but the size of the fish is 
not so good. There are quite as many crabs in the sea as there used to be. 
There are not half so many large crabs taken as there used to be. This is due 
to taking unsizeable crabs and everything that comes. Should therefore Gauge. 
recommend a 6-inch gauge. This would to a great extent restore the fishing, 
but there should also be a close season in June, July, and August, the prin- Close time 
cipal spawning months. This must be a close season for sale as well as taking. 
It must apply to the whole kingdom. There may be places where crabs could 
only be taken in June, July, and August, but does not think there are many. 
Unless the close season can be a universal close season, there must be no close 
season at all. 

Lobsters have decreased a great deal in size, not so much in numbers. Pro- LOBSTERS, 
poses a gauge of 4? inches for the head, equivalent to an 8-inch gauge at the 
very lowest. These gaagesmust be universal on seller, buyer, and taker. (*aicge. 

June, July, and August should also be closed for lobsters. Would not be close time. 
necessary to make any law about berried hens. The berried hens ought to be 
taken in the other nine months, as the berried hen is the most valuable form of erried - 
lobster. The greatest demand for berried hens is in the winter and turbot months. prab<! 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Gets soft crabs in June, July, and August, when they __ 

cast their shells. Thinks a crab of 4^ inches is about three years old. Soft. 

(By Mr. Young.) Would enforce these restrictions through the officers of 
the White Herring Fishery Board. 



CRABS. 

Decreased size. 
Gauge. 

Used for bait. 
Close time. 

LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 
Price. 



Gauge. 
Boiling. 



Close time. 
Soft. 



Decrease. 



{By Mr. Walpole.) The proper way to enforce the law is through the buyer 
and seller at the chief markets. The Orkney lobsters keep up their size. 

John Jamieson {examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been a fishmonger for 
upwards of 40 years. There are more crabs now a great deal than there were 
25 years ago, but the size is much smaller. There is double the number of 
fishermen, consequent on the" increased facilities for market, and they take all 
sizes. The remedy is to have a gauge. Nothing under 6 inches would do. 
If the market were stopped the fishermen would obey the gauge. Possibly 
the small crabs would be broken up for bait where the fishermen could not 
obtain mussels. The mussels are more used than crabs. Would have a 
close season in the Frith of Forth in June, July, and August. In these 
months the fish won't carry any distance because of the heat. 

The lobsters have diminished both in size and quantity. This is attri- 
butable to over-fishing. They fish for lobsters all through the year. When 
he first went to North Berwick 25 years ago, crabs were sold at 6d. a dozen, 
and small crabs counted two for one. The contract price now is Is. 6d. to 2s. 
a dozen. Lobsters used to be 9d. each and are now Is. 6d. to 2s. Two go for 
one under 4h inches in head or barrel of lobster. About five years ago 
refused to take lobsters under 4h, inches. The fishermen rebelled and sent the 
small lobsters to London, and they (the salesmen) are now compelled to take 
small as well as large. It would be better to measure lobsters by barrel and not 
by the Norfolk measure of head and iail. The crabs are skewered before they 
are boiled alive. It spoils a lobster or crab to put it first into cold water. 
The meat sticks to the shell. It is impossible to stop the capture of berried 
hens. The lobster is most valuable when it is berried. There is a prejudice 
against crabs in warm weather in Edinburgh. 

{By Mr. Young.) June, July, and August should also be closed for lobsters. 
They are found then with soft shells. Knows of his own knowledge that the 
lobster fisheries in Loch Erribol and in Tarbert in Harris are nearly fished out. 
There are not the same quantity of lobsters coming from any place now that 
used to come formerly. Every year the lobsters from Iona are getting smaller 
Most of the lobsters come from the West Highlands, from Portree, Mull, and 
all the islands on the West Coast. 



Queen's Hotel, Montrose, Friday, 6th October 1876. 



Present : 

Frank Buckland, Spencer Walpole, and Archibald Young, 

Esquires. 

CRABS. Joseph Johnson, fish merchant, Montrose {examined by Mr. BucUand). 

Has been acquainted with crab and lobster fisheries from Cape Wrath to 
Montrose for 50 or 60 years. The crabs have diminished 50 per cent, in 

Decrease. number ; they have not diminished in size. The average size of crabs is 5 

to 6 inches. One third of the crabs are below 4| inches. The falling off 
has taken place since the railway was opened nearly 30 years ago. Nearly 
30 years ago witness had crab fishings at Auchmithie, this side of Arbroath ; 
they took immense quantities; has had from that one place 140 baskets of 
a morning; each basket would contain 6 dozen. Doesn't suppose now that 
so many crabs could be taken in a season. Attributes falling off to over- 
fishing. Believes the crabs to be local, and to stay on their own ground. 
Thinks this because the Auchmithie crabs are the worst quality on the coast, 

Close time. and the Arbroath crabs, only 4 miles off, are much better. The only remedy 

for the falling off is an annual close time. Cannot say positively what this 
close season should be. It would be no remedy to kill the large and spare the 
small crabs because the large crabs are the spawners. Has known small crabs 

Spawnin . f 4 1 inches with roe in them. A gauge might protect the small ones; but 

it wouldn't increase the breed if the larger ones, which contain the most 
spawn and are most numerous, were killed. Does not, therefore, approve 

Gauge. f a gauge because it would not preserve the large crabs. The principal 

markets for crabs are London, Birmingham, Manchester, especially London. 



The merchants there will take any sized crab, but they do not give a great CRABS, 
deal for them. Before the railway crabs were Ad. a dozen, little and big. p . 
The price rose gradually after the railway was made and is now considerably 
higher. Crabs feed on animal food. The pots are baited with every kind of Food of. 
flesh, cod's heads, &c. Never heard of crabs being used as bait for crabs. 
The pots are made of wicker and net. 20 years ago the fishermen complained 
that if some law was not made to prevent continuous fishing, the fish would 
go out of existence. The great crab fishing in this district is from Troup 
Head to Fraserburgh. Has never seen the crabbers above 2 miles out to sea. 

In 181f) lobsters were sent to London in the wells of smacks which were sent LOBSTERS, 
for the purpose. One would come every week. The smacks for the last 
30 years have ceased coming. The steamers first, and then the railway, cut out Railways. 
the smacks. Thinks that, as the steamers commenced running, the lobsters 
disappeared. Thinks that the falling off in lobsters is due to want of pro- Decrease. 
tection and of a close season. June, July, and August would be the proper Close time. 
close season for lobsters. The berried hens can be found at almost any 
period of the year, but the chief time is June and July; they come in spawn Spawning. 
in May, but don't spawn till June. 

(By Mr. Young.) Recollects 30 years ago that the Act 9 Geo. II. c. 33, sec. 4, Enforcement of 
providing a close season, was strictly enforced. Has heard men say that it ' 
was close season and you could get no lobsters. The Act has fallen into 
desuetude for want of persons to enforce it. The officers of the White Herring 
Fishery Board would be competent to enforce the Act, and would have plenty of 
time to do so. (Mr. Young read the following passage from se White's History Decrease, 
of British Crustacea." " The older fishermen on the Moray Firth assured Mr. 
" Bell that the lobsters on the Elginshire rocky coast had so diminished in 
" number 50 years ago, owing to the vast numbers taken by parties who then 
" supplied the London market, and they have ever since been comparatively 
" rare.") Considers from his experience that the statement made by these 
fishermen to Mr. Bell was perfectly correct. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The close season suited the smacks because they Smacks. 
could not carry crabs in- hot weather, six days passage to London. The 
rapidity of steam made it possible to carry them. Does not think it 
worth while to return berried hens to the water out of close season. A 
berried hen is more valuable than any other lobster on account of her eggs. 
A berried hen worth 55. would without the berries be worth only 4s. It Berried. 
would be impossible to carry out a law directing them to be put back. 
Has no idea of the rate of growth of a lobster. They measure the lobsters by 
the barrel. A lobster 4§ inches in the barrels counts as a whole lobster, Below 
that size they count two for one. Lobsters have increased very much in price. Price. 
30 years ago lobsters were 4s. 6d. a score; they are now 30s. a score in the 
spring, 25s. in the autumn, but the price varies. In London they are now 
10c?. each. The market is glutted. It is not necessary to have a gauge. Has Gauge. 
seen a lobster of 6 or 7 lbs.' weight. The largest lobsters do not average above 
6| inches in the barrel. Thinks that the lobster is local. There was a spot 
off John's Haven about a mile off, which there was no difficulty in fishing out. 
The ground was about 3 miles in circumference, generally a coal bottom. 
Lobsters on shore will live best in common coal. 

(By Mr. Young.) The people employed in crab and lobster fishing are 
generally old men and boys. Has known no grounds fished out, but so few 
lobsters are got that they may be said to be almost fished out. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) The boats engaged at Auchmithie were chiefly employed 
in cod and ling fishing. Does not know how many were employed in crab 
fishing. In old days, when smacks took the take, could not get lobsters 
because they were taken by the contractors. Now they all go by rail. Does Railivays. 
not know whether it would be possible to ascertain what number go by rail. 
There are 75 per cent, fewer go by rail now than used to go by the old Decrease. 
smacks. 

Alexander Greg, manager for Joseph Johnson and Sons, Arbroath 
(examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been manager for seven years at Arbroath. 
Before that was 16 years with Mr. Sutherland, a fish dealer at Montrose. Has 
had 23 years experience in crab and lobster trade. There has always been a 
railway since he was in business. Brings crabs and lobsters from Arbroath, 
and occasionally in July and August from Auchmithie. There were last year 



Boats. 

LOBSTERS. 
Price. 

Increase. 
Boats. 



CRABS. 



No decrease. 



Weather. 



Price. 



Close time. 



Gauge. 
LOBSTERS. 

Gatige. 



Spawning. 



CRABS. 

Gatige. 

Close time. 
Spawning. 

No decrease. 



about 26 boats engaged at Arbroath in crab and lobster trade, chiefly in the 
spring ; seven years ago there were about 20 engaged. The boats have increased 
during the last seven years. Seven years ago crabs were Is. a dozen, small 
crabs below 5 inches counting two for one. The price now is Is. 6c?. a dozen. 
Lobsters were Is. each seven years ago, the price now is Is. 6d. The price of 
crabs and lobsters has increased during the last seven years by 50 per cent. 
The fishermen are doing a good business. Thinks that the crabs and lobsters 
are j ust as plentiful as they were seven years ago, lobsters if anything more 
plentiful ; is talking of an average of years. Though the number of boats has 
increased from 20 to 26, the take per boat is as large now as it was seven years 
ago. At Auchmithie there are now nine boats. The fishermen are leaving 
Auchmithie and coming to Arbroath. There is a better market at Arbroath. 
They are not leaving the Auchmithie ground because the crabs are fewer, but 
because there is a better market at Arbroath. The quality of crabs at Arbroath 
is better than at Auchmithie. The number of crabs at Auchmithie has not 
decreased in his time. They are taken close in shore and a mile out to sea. 
There are some crabs taken at East and West Haven. There are five boats 
between the two places. They fish the same ground as the Arbroath men, and 
there is no falling off either in quantity or size. The catch last year was at all 
these places as good as any he ever remembered. Last year was a very hot 
summer. Hot summers are always better than cold summers. Crab fishing 
depends on the weather. They take when water is muddy after breeze of wind. 
They see the traps in fine weather and won't take them. So far as he knows 
there is no falling off either in crabs or lobsters. Can catch the lobsters in very 
fine weather, they are not scared like the crabs by seeing the traps. 

Crabs and lobsters are chiefly sent to the London market. Heard that 
lobsters last week were selling at 10c?. apiece in London; kept his lobsters 
back in consequence. Has since sent them. The price of lobsters proves that 
a large supply of lobsters was in the market from Norway or elsewhere. 

Satisfied with the present condition of things. Lobsters and crabs are not 
much fished after the middle of July as the boats are on the herrings. The 
herring fishery makes a close season of its own for" the lobsters, and it is not 
necessary to have a close season after that time. It is impossible to take many 
lobsters and crabs from the middle of July till September. After that a good 
many may be taken. The season finishes in November, the weather becoming 
too rough. Thinks it would be desirable to return all crabs under 4f inches. 
Thinks it would be nonsense to return all crabs under 6 inches. Would 
return all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel. The fishermen now return 
all small lobsters. It would be necessary to prohibit taking, buying, and selling. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) There is a natural close season in consequence of the 
fishermen going after the herrings, and there has been no diminution of lob- 
sters. You can always get a lobster in spawn. Can't say when they spawn, 
nor whether the maintenance of stock is due to the natural close season. 

(By Mr. Young.) Has heard of the 9 Geo. II. instituting a close season, 
but never heard that it was observed. It is never attended to. The Act, he 
is certain, has never been observed for 20 years. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) The 1.30 p.m. train reaches London 4 a.m. the follow- 
ing day. Many of the shell fish are sent to London by this train. 

George Wood, fisherman, Johns Haven (examined by Mr. Young). 
Has been engaged in crab and lobster fishing since 1827. The fishing 
depends on the state of the weather. Since 1827 sees very little difference 
in the yield, if the same exertions are used. A great deal depends on the 
state of the weather. If the sea is troubled the crabs take better. Thinks that 
all crabs under 3 inches should be returned to the sea. There would be no 
harm in keeping a 4§ inch crab. It is no benefit to anyone to keep them under 
3 inches. Very few are caught below this size. The small ones under this 
size escape through the bars of the pot. Very few lobsters are caught under 
4^ inches in the barrel. They escape through the creel. The close season 
should commence on the 1st October and end on the 1st March. It is then too 
stormy to fish. The crabs spawn at the end of October, but has seen lobsters 
in spawn every day of the year. Does not know when lobsters spawn. Is 
acquainted with the fisheries from Aberdeen to Johns Haven. There has been 
no falling off in these fisheries. Some years are more productive than others, 
but this depends on the weather. 



(By Mr. Buckland.) Baits pots with haddocks, young cod, and other fish. CRABS. 
Has broken up crabs for bait when bait was scarce. Crabs are cannibals. If Bait r~~ 
it were made illegal to take small crabs wouldn't break them up for bait. t-OBSTRRS 
Lobsters like a little motion in the water, not much. Not one lobster in 12 '1 — ' 

or half a score is below 4;V inches in the barrel. Never saw a lobster smaller Gcmge. 
than that on table (6 inches). The bottom on which he fishes is sandy and rocky. 
Below 4i inches the crabs count two for one, but sees no harm in catching 
them if above 3 inches. Thinks it is impossible to harry (i.e. fish out) the sea. 

James Walker, fisherman at Gourdon (examined by Mr. Buckland). CRABS. 

Has been fishing for crabs and lobsters for 36 years. Commences off his own 

shore and goes northward to Stonehaven. Fishes from the shore to a mile and 

a half off. As the season advances comes inshore. Commences fishing on the 

1st March and ends at the end of September. About 40 pots go to each boat. 

There is about 40 yards between each pot. The pots are down night and day. 

Has seen plenty of crabs, but they are getting scarce. The crabs are getting very Decrease. 

scarce. They are less than one half of what they were 36 years ago. During 

the last 20 years they have been falling off gradually. 36 years ago there were 

three boats out of Gourdon, now there are 20. Each boat has three times as Boats. 

much material as they used to have. It is no use to have a close season, but 

the small crabs should be returned to the sea. All under 3| or 4 inches Gauge. 

should be returned to the sea. Now everything is taken and sent to London, 

where there is a market for everything in the shape of a crab. Does not want 

a close season ; at the time when crabs spawn there are no crabs taken. The Berried. 

crabs carry their berries for six months. Sends no ran crabs (crabs with 

spawn) to London. They ought to be put back into the water. This would 

increase the fishery. 

There are no lobsters to be got at all. They are worse than the crabs. His LOBSTERS, 
ground is not lobster ground, but there were plenty there 36 years ago. j)ecrea~> 
Doesn't know the cause of falling off. 

Thinks all the berried hens should be thrown back to restore the fishery. Berried. 
There should be no lobster taken under 4\ inches in the barrel. In olden 
times the smacks wouldn't take anything under that size. They tie the lob- Gauge. 
sters when they send them away and do not plug them. The crabs are all 
sent away alive. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) There are now 20 boats for three when he began fishing, Boats. 
and each boat carries three times as many pots. There are really therefore now 
20 times as many pots as there were 36 years ago. When he fished first the 
price of crabs was 4\d. a dozen, and 6d. and 9d. for lobsters each. The price Price. 
now is Is. 6d. to 25. a dozen for crabs, and Is. for lobsters each. Some of the 
fishermen are better, some worse off, than they were 36 years ago. The fisher- 
men are not wholly dependent on the crabs and lobsters. The additional 
number of creels catch as many fish as used to be caught 36 years ago. 
The whole take of the 20 boats is as large or larger than the take of the three 
36 years ago, but each boat gets a smaller share. If 20 people were trying to 
catch an animal which one used to try and catch, the 20 could not expect to get 
so many, but the 20 boats have fished out the store, and the store is getting 
shorter every year. The crabs keep to their ground, and in certain places are CRABS. 
being fished out. 

James Moir (examined by Mr. Young). Lives at Gourdon. Has been 
fishing for 20 years. Is acquainted with the coast for about five miles, 
between Tod Head and Gourdon. The fish have fallen off a good deal in 
number but not in size. There are too many fishermen catching them. It 
would be a good thing to return all crabs to the sea under 4 inches. Thinks Gauge. 
there is no use in a close season for crabs. June, July, and August is the very Close time. 
time to catch them. Would return all lobsters under 4k inches in the barrel. LOBSTERS. 
No close time is observed for lobsters. All the lobsters they get on this coast Q auae 
are not worth speaking about. The price of crabs has increased very much ; 
it has risen from Sd. to 10c?., Is., and \4d. a dozen. 

(Examined by Mr. Buckland.) There are no lobsters worth speaking 
about. The bottom is sandy and rocky, more sand than rock. They fish on 
about two miles of sand and four miles of rock. The lobsters live chiefly 
on the rock, the crabs on the sand. The rock is covered with weed. Can Decrease. 
form no idea why the lobsters have gone away. The Gourdon fishermen 
knew that he (witness) was coming to give evidence, and thinks that, if they 



8 



CRABS. 

Used for bait. 



No decrease. 
Boats. 
Gauge. 
Close time. 



Gauge. 
LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



were in the room, they would agree with him. Crabs are very seldom broken 
up for bait. Mussels are chiefly used. Crabs are too valuable. Lobsters are 
tied and not plugged. 

Robert Adams {examined by Mr. Walpole), manager at Gourdon for 
Joseph Johnson and Sons. Has been engaged six years ; before that was at 
Montrose as cooper and fisherman. Buys a great many crabs for Messrs. 
Johnson. Contracts with three boats for their whole take. Has done this for 
three years. The take continues much about the same. There are 20 boats 
at Gourdon; last year there were 19. They have had from 18 to 22 boats 
every year for six years. The take per boat is just about the same as it always 
has been. No legislation is needed except as to size. All crabs under 
5 inches should be returned to the sea. About a third of the present take are 
below 5 inches. Knows very little about lobsters. There are very few lobsters 
in this district. A close season is not necessary for crabs. October to March 
is a natural, close season. 

{By Mr, Buckland.) There are about three men in each boat at Gourdon. 
Thinks that most of the fishermen agree with evidence given by Moir and 
Walker. 

William Douglas Johnson {examined by Mr. Buckland), a member of 
the firm of Messrs. Joseph Johnson and Sons, Montrose. Has been engaged 
for 25 years in business. Arbroath is the principal station of the firm for crabs 
and lobsters. Does not think that there is any falling off in the aggregate take 
of lobsters and crabs so as to affect the public supply. Whenever the price 
rises the quantity always comes forward. Is not in favour of a close season ; 
thinks it would be of no great advantage. Thinks a crab of 4f inches is a 
good marketable crab, and should not be returned. It would be worth \\d. 
boiled and retailed. Thinks, therefore, the gauge should be 4 inches. All 
below that size should be returned. Lobsters below 4^ inches in the barrel 
are half lobsters, and no lobster under 4 inches should be taken at all. Never 
heard of lobsters being plugged. The berried hens are very valuable ; but 
the London merchants do not give more for berried hens than others. 

(By Mr. Young.) Knows no places where crabs and lobsters were once 
plentiful and are now fished out. 



Imperial Hotel, Aberdeen, Saturday, 7th October 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland, Spencer Walpole, and Archibald Young, 

Esquires. 

CRABS. William Paul {examined by Mr. Buckland), advocate of Aberdeen ; lives at 

Stranathraw Cottage, Muchalls. Has lived there 10 years, and been interested 

in crab and lobster fisheries. There are five boats in village of Stranathraw or 
Muchalls, representing about 30 men. They are all white fishermen, but all 
have crab pots. Each boat 10 or 12 years ago had three or four creels, and 

Decrease. now each boat has only one or two. The crabs have fallen off in numbers. 

Has observed no decrease in size. Was told last night by an old man, Alex- 
ander Christie, that crabs had fallen off in size. Thinks that the falling off 
is due to the mode of fishing, which is most improvident. In September and 

Spawning. October crabs are in the best order. After that the female crabs spawn, and they 

get in bad order and are unfit for food. Understands from fishermen that 
when they spawn they cast their shell, and gradually improve from that time till 

Soft. month of July. When they get in bad order fishermen catch many more 

than when they are in good order. Has often in November himself seen great 
baskets full of crabs, all of which were unfit for human food. These crabs 

Used for hail. are used as bait. The breast is pulled off and the back is used. The crab is 
the best "bait, far better than mussels. A line of 40 score hooks is baited one 
half with c?abs (if they can begot) and one half with mussels or bullock's liver. 
Twenty cra^)S are required to bait one line. The crabs are not used as bait 
when thev are in good order, they are too valuable. The claws of crabs in 
November are soft and watery. Thinks that the wanton destruction of crabs 
unfit for food is the cause of scarcity. Even in October, when crabs are in 



good condition, the claws are sent to market and the bodies used as bait. The CRABS, 
body of the male crab is rarely sent to market, it is retained for bait, and the 
claws alone are sent to market. Both the claws and body of the female crab 
are sent to market. Sees no cause whatever for diminution of crabs, except 
catching them out of season from November to July. November to July close time. 
would perhaps be too long a period for close season, but some close season 
ought to be adopted. In the season when crabs are in good order there are 
very few small crabs caught. Sees the small crabs chieHy in winter and 
spring. The sea off Stranathrawis rocky, but southwards towards Stonehaven 
and Bervie there is more sand, and this is the chief seat of the crab fisheries. 
The reason of this is that the bottom is sandy and more favourable. Even in 
October there are always a few spent crabs among the good ones, andn'ce versa 
in November there are always a few good crabs among the bad ones. The only 
way to stop improvident fishing is a close time. Does not think it would be 
practicable to have a gauge. The fishermen would break up the crabs for bait. 
Does not think that the fishermen are in favour of a close season ; they all say 
things are going on well as they are. Ten years ago would have considered 
2d. or 3d. a fair price for a crab. The same sized crab now would cost 5c?. or Price. 
()d. The increase in price is 100 per cent. The fishermen now don't make 
the fishery so much of a trade as they used. They devote their attention to 
the haddocks. A great proportion of the crabs caught go to Glasgow, Birming- 
ham, Manchester, and the midland towns. The crab fishing ground extends 
from the Bay of Stonehaven to Bervie, about 15 miles. 

(By Mr. Young.) Thinks that a continuance of this improvident mode of 
fishing will lead to further evil. Is not aware of the statutory close season 
for lobsters. The Act is neither known nor observed. The fishermen now 
go further from the coast to set their creels than they used to do. Understands 
from the fishermen that the male crab is in the best order about Christmas, Season for. 
the female crab in September and October. The present season has been a 
very good season for crabs. This is due to the fact that there has been a 
good deal of rough weather, and the crabs go easier into the pots. The crab 
pots are invariably baited with haddocks' heads. The pots are made of thin Bait. 
spars of wood and netting. 

The number of creels in each boat has diminished from three to one. Boats. 
Practically there is less machinery for catching crabs than there used to be. 
At some of the villages they don't fish at all. The reduction of machinery 
is not, however, leading to increased production of crabs. The evil is, no 
doubt, reduced, but the reduction has made no perceptible impression. The 
great object of the fishermen is to get crabs for bait. Crabs are the most 
successful bait. Thinks it not possible that crabs may be more useful as bait 
than as food. Other bait is always available. The provision of other bait would 
be more expensive, but the evil would not be comparable with the evil done to 
the crab fisheries. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) A close season in June, July, and August would be in Close time. 
the period of the year when crabs are getting into good order, and would be 
too late. Would much rather make the close season commence from the 
middle of November or 1st December for four or five months. This is a 
very stormy period of the year Fishermen cannot pursue their fishery in the Weather. 
stormy period of year, but in frosty weather they can go out very easily, 
and they often go to the crab pots when they cannot go out with their lines. 
The natural close time due to storms is dependent on seasons. Taking crabs 
out of season is almost entirely due to taking crabs for bait. The reduction of Used for bait. 
fishing machinery spoken of before has not led to an increase of crabs. The 
fishermen are so anxious for bait that they will hardly sell a good crab ; it 
pays them better to get them for bait than to send them to market. The law 
of close season could be enforced by the coast-guard. The White Herring Enforcement of 
Fishery Board has no officers on the coast that he knows of. Thinks it would law ' 
be impracticable to enforce a gauge. It could be enforced in the markets, 
but the small crabs would then be used as bait. Does not think that the fish 
caught with crabs as bait compensate the consumer for the crabs that are 
destroyed. 

(By Mr. Young.) Is not aware that in the Firth of Forth the long-line 
fishermen prefer mussels to crabs for bait. In this part of the coast they Used for bait. 
prefer crabs to any other bait. The crab is broken up and tied on to the hook 



10 



CRABS. 

Boiling. 

Gauge. 
Close time. 



No decrease. 



Close time. 



Season for 



Gauge. 



Price. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 
Gauge. 



with wool. If there is a close season it must at any rate be for the whole of 
Scotland. There would be no difficulty in enforcing a local close season in 
his district either by the coast-guard or by the officers of the White Herring 
Fishery Board. Salmon nets are all removed on the commencement of the 
close season, and the crab creels could be removed in the same way. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) There is a great demand for crabs in Aberdeen. But 
in the winter months there are no crabs in the market, only their claws. The 
crabs are all boiled in the villages. They are stabbed first. 

William Reid, advocate, Aberdeen, clerk to the Dee and Don Fishery 
District Board {examined by Mr. Young). Objects to a gauge for crabs, because, 
though it would be a test of size, it would not be a test of condition. In the 
winter months even Avell-sized crabs have scarcely any meat in the shell, only 
in the claws. Would prefer to have a close time of at least four months, com- 
mencing on the 1 st November. Thinks it would be generally observed by the 
fishermen if passed into law. 

William Meff, fishmonger at Aberdeen. A fishmonger 16 years. Had a 
fishery at Catterline (5 miles square), near Stonehaven, for 10 years up to 1874. 
There were 25 men fishing for crabs from April to July. The herring fishing 
commenced in July. In September and October resumed crab fishing. Left 
off from November to April. Crabs have not decreased. The last year he had 
the fishery he had 800 dozen in five days. The number of creels had doubled 
in the 10 years ; there were more traps taking the crabs. But thinks the 
crabs are fewer, and that if the fishing machinery had not increased he would 
not have half so many crabs as 10 years ago. Thinks, therefore, that the crabs 
have decreased both in size and quantity. Gets crabs as large as 8 or 9 
inches, and some as small as 3 or 4 inches. Fully one half are small. Is in 
favour of a close season in June, July, August. Thinks the crabs are then 
in good condition. They are in the worst condition in November and 
December ; but November, December, and January are naturally closed. In 
those months the crabs have scarcely any meat in their shells ; the claws only 
are used. Thinks that it is impossible for many crabs to be taken then. Does 
not think many are taken in those months. The male crab is in the best 
condition in March, April, and May; the female in September and October. 
The English prefer the male crab; the Scotch the red meat (undeveloped 
spawn) of the female. Manchester is the best market for crabs. There ought 
to be a gauge. All below 4| inches ought to be returned to the water. Thinks 
that a good many fishermen are in favour of this. The gauge would effect an 
improvement in time. 

The gauge should be 4^ inches ; it would be a test of size not of condition. 
The Aberdeen people are very fond of crabs, and have been used to them for 
many years. Would be pleased with a regulation gauge, as very small crabs are 
of no use to them. The crabs six years ago were sold to him for 10c/. a dozen of 
13 ; he now pays 3s. and as much as 4s. for them. This is due to the scarcity 
and also to the railway, though at this time (October) the railways don't take 
them south, and the crabs are chiefly used for the local (Deeside) demand. They 
are sent all over the district up Deeside as far as the castle town of Braemar 
and up Don side. Cannot get as many crabs as he wants for the local demand, 
they are over-fished. To prevent this would have a close season in June, July, 
and August, and would return also all unsizeable crabs to the sea. 

Gets his lobsters principally from the Orkneys. 

James Barlow, clerk to Mr. Meff {examined by Mr. Walpole). Manages 
Mr. Meff's accounts. Has directed his attention to accounts of the Catterline 
fishery. The produce of that fishery decreased while Mr. Meff had it. The 
decrease was due to over-fishing ; double the number of nets only caught 
the same number of crabs. Heard what Mr. Meff said about a close season. 
It is difficult to say when a close season should be. Thinks, however, it should 
be in June, July, and August. The male crabs are not unsaleable then, but they 
are better in April and May. Is in favour of a gauge, thinks it should be 
5 inches. This is the smallest that there should be. All crabs below this 
should be returned. Would have the same gauge for males and females. 
Males are the largest, especially their claws. 

{By Mr. Young.) The close season should apply to the whole of Scotland, 
and should be a close season for buying and selling as well as taking, as in the 
Salmon Fishery Acts. 



11 

Isabella McKinlav. The best months for crabs are July, August, Sep- CRABS. 

tember, and October. Nothing under 5 inches ought to be taken. In April, G 

May, and June the female crabs are in bad order but the male crabs are „ ' 
•j season Jor. 

Mrs. Livingstone, fish-saleswoman. Londoners want crabs in January and Used for bait. 
February, the Scotch in September and October. If the fishermen could not 
catch crabs in winter they would have no bait for the lines. Mussels are 
expensive and difficult to get on account of the spates in the river. 



North Eastern Hotel, Peterhead, Monday, 9th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Thomas Hutton, Custom-House officer. Has lived at Peterhead nearly 
60 years. Knows the bulk of the fishermen. There are not above five or 
six boats going out to the crab and lobster fishing. In his experience the 
crabs have diminished in numbers more than half. Does not know if they Decrease. 
have diminished in size. A great many crabs are taken among the rocks with 
clips by women and children in the months of April, May, June, and July. 
The crabs taken with the clip are mostly small, about 3 or 4 inches ; a 6-inch 
" partan" or crab is a large one. Other crabs are called "dog crabs." They 
are not in spawn at that time. Never saw them in spawn on the shore; Spawning. 
they spawn in deep water. Attributes the falling off in number to the bad 
weather here while casting their shells. Has not been able for the last three 
years to get a he-partan or crab that did not want a claw, and many had no 
claws. This is on account of their being soft when casting their shells, their So ^ t - 
claws being then knocked off by storms. The crabs here are not over-fished. 
Those caught here mostly go south by railway. To increase the size and 
number of the crabs, there should be a close time from July to September Close time. 
for crabs under 4| inches to enable them to harden their shell and increase 
in size. There are some lobsters taken here, but the numbers have LOBSTERS. 

fallen off. Thinks it is owing to the bad seasons, not to over-fishing. They 

have fallen off during the last two or three years. They are caught with 

clicks. Lobsters with "ran," i.e. spawn or roe, under 4 inches in the barrel, Gauge. 

should be put back into the water. The larger lobsters should not be put 

back because they are of considerable value for the market. Lobsters are Spawning. 

found with roe at all seasons. Has seen lobsters as small as 3 inches. Lobsters 

cast their shells in June, July, and August. The female lobsters should not Soft.' 

be taken during that time. The he-lobsters might be taken then. 

George Bruce, fisherman. Has fished for crabs for 14 years. Fishes from tt?au«5 

Rattrayhead to Buchanness Light, a distance of 12 miles. The farthest distance ' 

he fishes out at sea is 400 yards. The crabs are taken on a rocky bottom, at 

a depth from 15 fathoms to 3 feet of water. Catches them in. rings (iron 

rings of 22 inches diameter with a net of small mesh). Baits this net with Bait for. 

fish of any kind. The rings are lifted four times at night. Sets about 40 

rings. Never saw more than one partan in a ring. A crab could get out of a 

ring quite easily. Does not think the crabs have fallen off much here. Last 

season there were three boats from Buchanhaven, one from Peterhead, and one 

from Burnhaven. Crabs have not diminished, either in size or number. Is No decrease. 

sure the ground is not over-fished. Believes it would be advantageous to have 

a close season for crabs. July and August should be the close season, because Close time. 

then they spawn, and cast their shells and are soft. Thinks crabs under 

4| inches should be returned to the water at all times of the year. The Gauge. 

fishermen would not regard this as a hardship. Uses small crabs for bait in Used for bait 

May and June. They are put on hooks to catch cod. During these months 

small crabs, or "bowers " are valuable for bait. Few partans are used as bait. 

If it were made illegal to take these small crabs for bait it would be a little 

inconvenience to the fishermen. More small crabs are taken by women and 

boys on the rocks than by regular fishermen. They sell and eat them. Does 

not know if they would consider it a hardship to be prevented. The general 



12 



LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 

Spaioning. 

Gauge. 

Migration. 



Destroyed by 
tobacco. 



Season, for, 



Close time. 



CRABS. 

Gauge. 



Decrease. 

Close time. 
Gauge. 
LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



Decrease. 
CRABS. 

Close time 



size caught by the women and children is about 4 inches and under. These 
crabs are not sent away by railway. The regular fishermen send crabs away 
by railway to London, Newcastle, Manchester, and elsewhere. The price is 
about the same as it used to be. Has seldom, if ever, seen a partan with 
roe in it, therefore no law on the subject is necessary. 

Lobsters are caught in the same places and in the same way as crabs. They 
have fallen off greatly during the last four years, both in size and 
number. The causes are over-fishing, the bad coast, and destruction by 
storms. They deposit their spawn among the rocks and the sea rolls it up and 
destroys it. They principally spawn in July and August. Has found berried 
hens at all seasons of the year. Would put back all small berried hens under 
4 inches in the barrel. Many small lobsters are found in spawn. The largest 
lobsters caught are about 7 lbs. In the winter the crabs go into deep water. 
Would not deny that a law giving a close time for crabs during July and 
August would do good, nor that a gauge of A\ inches for the minimum size 
of crabs would do good, if the fishermen were allowed the privilege of using 
them for bait when the bait was scarce. A great many crabs are killed during 
January and February, — in fact throughout the year, — by storms. The best part 
of the coast is between Aberdeen and Peterhead, especially from Fraserburgh to 
Rattray Head. The latter coast is the best for lobsters. A ship with a cargo 
of tobacco was wrecked about 40 years ago at Kirkton Head, 3 miles north of 
Peterhead. Before the wreck occurred it was usual to catch four or five 
lobsters in a ring 5 after the wreck occurred they were thrown up in cartloads 
on the shore, and the fishery has been very poor since. 

There is a local saying that, " as the corn fills the lobsters improve." Crabs 
and lobsters are in best condition at harvest time. Would have a close time 
for July and August, and fishing to commence in September. 

Captain David Gray, of the steamship "Eclipse." Has known Peterhead 
all his life. Has heard the witnesses, and agrees with them. Most decidedly 
thinks July and August should be a close time, to allow the females to mature 
their ova and recover from spawning. As protection is applied to salmon in 
the breeding season, so it should be applied to crabs and lobsters. No crabs, 
male or female, under b\ inches should be taken. If it were made illegal to 
take crabs under 5^ inches, the women and children who took them about the 
rocks would be prohibited. It is very necessary that they should. All crabs 
under that size should be returned to the water. Occasional storms in 
July and August may have the effect of destroying large numbers of crabs 
when they are soft. Peterhead is not a place where the fishermen make crab 
and lobster fishing a regular business. 

George Buchan, of Buchanhaven. Has been a fisherman for crabs and 
lobsters for two years. Did not get so many crabs last season as he did the season 
before. Thinks they are falling off on account of being over-fished. They 
have diminished about one half. Fishes in May and June. Thinks there 
ought to be a close time during July and August, because then they are casting 
their shells and are breeding. All crabs under A\ inches should be put back 
into the sea at all times of the year. Lobsters were very scarce last summer. 
Thinks the cause is over-fishing ; but the scarcity maybe caused by the season. 
Berried hens under 4 inches in the barrel should be returned to the water. 
Larger berried hens should be kept. Sends crabs by railway to merchants. 
The price has not altered. Before the wreck at Kirkton Head there was a 
great abundance of lobsters. The tobacco was in casks and killed the lobsters 
for six or eight miles along the coast, as the casks broke up. Does not think 
it of any use to restock the ground; but the lobsters are not utterly extermi- 
nated. Has lately got 35 lobsters in one night up and down this ground in 
40 rings and 20 creels. 

Gumming Summers, Peterhead. Has fished for crabs and lobsters about 
a year and a half. Fishes from about half-a-mile to 100 yards from the shore. 
Uses the creels (not the rings). The first year he did very well. Has caught 
four or five lobsters in a creel. Last year he used 14 creels and caught no 
lobsters at all. Crabs (partans) go south of Buchan. They are plentiful and 
are not fished out. The average size is 7 inches. Thinks there should be a 
close time for crabs in July, August, and September, to allow the young ones 
to be born, and the small ones to grow larger. Lobsters have got scarce. 
Last year he fished with six creels in the winter, and caught as many as with 



13 

20 creels in the summer, therefore he argues they have been over-fished. LOBSTERS. 
Would have a close time for lobsters from 1st June to 31st August, during close time. 
which time no lobsters, of any kind, should be taken. The fishermen are of 
this opinion. Lobsters spawn in June more than in any other month of the Spawning 
year. There used to be many fishermen, but the scarcity of lobsters has 
reduced the number. Does not believe he could trace the scarcity of the 
lobsters to the wreck of 40 years ago 5 it has simply been caused by over- 
fishing. Has never heard of the Act of 9 George II. cap. 33 giving a close 
time for lobsters. 

Thomas Hutton (recalled). Has heard of the Act of 9 George II. cap. 
33 ; but never knew it carried out. 

J. Stevens, of Bodham. Is a fish curer. Used to go about as a boy CRABS, 
with his father, 25 years ago. Caught many crabs then. Caught 72 crabs full 
grown in one creel. There were plenty of crabs at that time. They are much Decrease. 
scarcer now. Nobody at Bodham now fishes for crabs ; it does not pay. 
Thinks a close time would do no harm, but gives no opinion on the subject. 
Undersized crabs should be thrown back, to grow to maturity. It would be of 
great advantage to put back all crabs under 5^ inches. Used to get six Gauge. 
lobsters in an evening with rings ; but now does not get so many in the 
whole season. Thinks the small hen-lobsters should be put back. The women 
and children catching crabs take many thousands. Thinks this has much to 
do with the scarcity. They catch them for bait and food. Has seen partans 
not larger than his thumb-nail caught. 

Captain David Gray (recalled). Suggests the formation of districts like Enforcement of 
the Salmon Fishery Districts, which should be let to and placed under the law - 
authority of tacksmen, who would fish them on a system, and enforce the close 
season and the throwing back of small crabs in their own interest. Killing small 
crabs is like pulling up small potatoes before they are half grown. None 
under 4\ inches across the back ought to be taken. There used to be seven Gauge. 
boats from Peterhead and the neighbourhood, now there are only two ; the 
rest have knocked off on account of the unsuccessful fishing. Something . 
ought to be done to preserve the fishery. Has fished on ground that was never 
fished before, and caught a good many large lobsters. Returned again in 
about three weeks and caught none. Thinks^they were all fished out on the 
first occasion. Shifted his ground for three months, and then returned to the 
same place and fished it on and off for three weeks, and only caught three 
lobsters all the time. 

James Ingram. Has been secretary to the Ugie District Board for Enforcement of 
20 years. Thinks the herring fishery officers should have authority to carry 
out the regulations as to close time which have been proposed. 



law. 



The Hotel, Cove, Kincardineshire, Monday, 9th October 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

Peter Tester (examined by Mr. Young). Resides at Tony, and has been a 
salmon fisherman for 29 years. Has during that time paid attention to the crab 
fisheries. A good many crabs are caught between this and Bervie ; Shield Hill 
(3 miles from Bervie) is the principal station for crabs on this coast. There are Decrease. 
not so many crabs now as there were 29 years ago. They have decreased both 
in number and size, especially in number. There are more boats employed in Boats. 
taking crabs than there used to be, but there are fewer pots. The crabs are 
in best season in October. In November the crabs begin to get very soft, Season for, 
have little meat in the shells, and are not so well worth catching. Can't tell 
reason of decrease. Does not think it is due to over-fishing. Does not think 
it is, because in December, when out of condition, the crabs are as plentiful as 
ever ; when they are in condition they are scarce. Thinks a close season would Close time. 
do good. There is no close season observed at present. The close season 
should comprise December, January, and February. The weather greatly 



14 



Gauge. 



Used for bait. 



CRABS. prevents crab fishing in these months, so that nature makes a close season of 
her own. Thinks, however, it would be well to supplement the natural with a 
statutory close season. 

Is also in favour of returning small crabs to the water. The gauge should be 
from 4^ to 5 inches across the back. The White Herring Fishery Officers and 
the coast-guard men could see the gauge^enforced. A gauge would be no test 
of condition, only of size. Crabs are not used for bait for the long lines, but 
they are used for the haddock lines. 40 score of hooks are on a common fisher- 
man's line. The hooks are baited with crabs, bullock's liver, and mussels. 
Mussel bait is not plentiful here. It all comes from Montrose. There are 
no mussel scalps between Cove and Bervie. Mussels come from Montrose 
and Port Glasgow. The reason for using crabs for bait is the scarcity and dear- 
ness of mussels. Cannot say that the use of crabs for bait has been the cause 
of their scarcity. Crabs are more valuable to the fishermen for bait than for 
the market. 
Boats. (By Mr. Walpole.) 29 years ago there were about 30 boats ; there are now 

two extra boats at Muchalls, five extra at Skateraw, three extra at the Dunnies, 
four extra at Porthlethen, five extra at Cove. There are now 51 boats. The crab 
ground extends from Cove to Bervie 18 miles, and 4 miles seaward. The 
boats do not depend on the crabs but on the herrings, and only fish for crabs 
till the herring fishery commences. 29 years ago the boats carried 10 pots 
each. They do not average now three to a boat. 

Crabs are very valuable for bait. If December, January, and February were 
closed the fishermen would not be much injured because they cannot get out 
to sea then. It would, however, do good to close those months. 

Mitchell Craig (examined by Mr. Walpole). Has been fishing for 40 or 
50 years at Cove. There are not so many crabs as there were. As a youngster 
has taken 40, 50, or 60 crabs in a creel; there would not now be a dozen crabs 
in a creel. Does not know what the decrease is due to ; but thinks that they 
catch more full crabs to the southward, and more out of condition on his own 
ground. Recollects smacks coming down from London for crabs before the 
railway was opened. The crabs have been decreasing ever since. This looks 
as if the crabs were being over-fished. The crabs spawn about November. 
Thinks it would be a good thing to prevent crabs being caught in November, 
December, January, and February. It would be no injury to the fishermen, who 
can always get bait because of the railways, which bring them mussels. 
Mussels cost here about 11. a ton in carriage by rail; this is the chief cause 
of the expense of mussels. Thinks it would be a good thing to throw back all 
crabs below 5 inches. Thinks the fishermen would be in favour of this law. 
Fishermen would like a law to say that no crabs should be taken in November, 
December, January, and February, and no crabs under five inches at any time. 
A close season in June, July, and August would be absurd because they are 
then in good condition. 

Peter Tester (recalled). Blames the trawlers on this coast. They come all 
over the crab ground and keep the crabs they trawl up. They began to come 
three years ago. There were very few trawlers before that time. The crabs 
decreased 20 years ago, but there has been a decided decrease since trawlers 
came on the coast. The trawlers come principally from the Firth of Forth. 
Is in favour of a law stopping all inshore trawling. The trawlers also inter- 
fere with the lines. 

James Marr (examined by Mr. Young). Lives at Cove; has been a salmon 

fisherman for 25 years. Has paid some attention to crab fishing on the coast. Is 

Decrease. sure they do not catch so many crabs now as they did 10 years ago. The crabs 

are not much smaller but much less numerous. Can't tell what is the cause of 

• the decrease. 

Thinks too many breeding crabs are taken. The crabs get out of condition 
in November. 

Has formerly seen in the Bay of Nigg 70 to 80 crabs in one net, and now there 
are not a dozen taken. The boats do not engage regularly in the crab fishery; 
a few crabs (the best) are sold, and the rest are kept for bait. There is very 
little fishing for crabs in the winter months except for bait. The fishermen 
might object to being stopped fishing from November to February, because 
Trawlers. t ne Da it is valuable. Thinks the trawlers have done as much harm as anything. 

They sweep up everything small and large. 



Close time. 



Decrease. 



Spawning. 
Close time. 



Gauge. 



Trawlers. 



The Inn, Muchalls, Monday, 9th October 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

Alexander Leper {examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Muchalls ; has CRABS, 
been a fisherman 40 years j has fished for crabs all that time. There are now 
five boats ; 40 years ago there were three boats. They fish also for haddock 
and herring, and for crabs all the year through except during May, June, July, 
and August, when they are on the herring fishery. Commences crab fishing in 
September, and fishes all through the winter to the following May. In the 
winter crabs are used as bait. There are five men in a boat, and each man has a Used for bait. 
creel. 40 years ago used to use two or three creels per man. Doesn't think that 
the crabs are scarcer, but can't get freedom to take them. The Stonehaven and 
Cowie men fishing with long lines find their lines get foul with the creels 
and then cut the gear of the crab lines. The Stonehaven men fish for crabs 
themselves. This conduct keeps the Muchalls men from crabbing, and so they 
can't get crabs. If it wasn't for this there would be as many crabs caught as 
ever. Has often had his own gear cut. The Stonehaven men say they do 
this, and that they will do it again. The ground extends from Carron Ness on 
the north to Dunnottar Castle on the south. This is about three miles long. 
This was the best crab ground between Stonehaven and Aberdeen ; it is a patch 
of rock in the middle of the sand. The conduct of the Stonehaven men keeps 
them off it now. If it wasn't for the Stonehaven men the crab fishing would be 
as good as ever. The conduct of the Stonehaven men took 1001. out of 
Muchalls village this season. There are no fewer crabs in the sea this year, 
but every year is not alike. The crabs cast their shells in the latter end of Soft. 
October. After the 1st November it would be a good thing to prevent their 
being caught. November, December, and January being closed would not Close time. 
injure the "fishermen. Could get other bait in those months. There are not 
many small crabs taken. They get out of the creels. The 2-inch crabs get 
out of the creels. 

(By Mr. Young.) Every third hook on the long lines is baited with crabs, Used for bait. 
while two thirds of the hooks are baited with mussels and bullock's liver. The 
mussels come from Montrose and Port Glasgow, and cost about 11. per ton for 
carriage. If crabs were prohibited as bait could get other bait for the long 
lines. Recollects smacks coming down from London for crabs, but they did 
not occasion any scarcity. There is no meat in the crabs in November. A 
gauge would be no test of condition, only of size. 

Alexander Christie of Muchalls (examined by Mr. Young). Has been 
a fisherman since he was 16, is now 72. Came to the village of Muchalls in 
1823. Has a long acquaintance with the crab fishing. There are not nearly so Decrease. 
many crabs now as there were when he was young. They are full as big in 
size, but they have fallen off in number. When he began there were only two 
boats out of Muchalls. Each boat had 12 creels and 4 men. Crabs then 
were Is. and I4d. a dozen. They have this year been as high as 4s. or 5s. per p rice . 
dozen. Most of the crabs here are large. They use the crabs in November, Usea - for bait. 
December, and January as bait, but it would be a good thing not to catch 
them in those months. Does not think it would do any good to return the close time. 
small crabs. Agrees generally with Mr. Leper's evidence. It is 10 or 12 years 
since he was actively engaged in the fishery. 

Alexander Christie (examined by Mr. Walpole). Nephew of the pre- 
ceding witness. Lives at Muchalls, is 50 years old, has fished all his life ; 
began fishing in 1845. There are not so many crabs now as there were in Decrease. 
1845. But would get as many crabs as ever, if he could go to the old ground. 
Can't go there now because the Stonehaven and Cowie men destroy their creels. 
Has often had his own gear destroyed. There are just as many crabs if he 
could go to the same ground. Thinks that in November, December, and 
January crabs are of no use for food, and very little for bait, and that these close Ume: 
months therefore ought to be closed. They don't seek the crabs in February 
and March. Only care for September and October. The trawlers don't come 
here, and the great thing would be to stop the Stonehaven and Cowie men inter- 
fering with them. The Stonehaven boats have gradually increased from 6 to 

40353. K 



16 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 



30, and so got too strong for them. Crab pots are a fixture and do not inter- 
fere T with the long line fishing. 

Captain Hexry Thorburn has lived here 13 years in the summer, and 
confirms the evidence of preceding witnesses, who are all reliable men. 

James Christie {examined by Mr. Young). Resides at Skateraw ; has 
been a fisherman for 22 years. Has fished for crabs all that time except this 
year. The crabs are scarcer than when he began, they are a complete failure. 
The crabs are over-fished. The crabs are very plentiful in the winter months, 
and taking them then for bait has to do with the falling off in the fishery. It 
would be a good thing to close November, December, and January for the 
crabs, but it would not be favourable to the fishermen, as it would prevent them 
getting bait. Fishes off Muchalls. The Stonehaven men only occasionally 
come up there. They have never destroyed his gear. There are double as many 
boats as when he began fishing. The boats carry fewer pots than they used to do. 
This year there is not a single pot in the whole village. Last year was a very 
bad year, and the October storms destroyed the pots, and they did not think 
it worth while renewing them. Crabs under 4 inches are all thrown back, and 
all berried crabs are thrown back. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Would not object to November, December, and January 
being closed. 



Station Hotel, Stonehaven, Monday, 9th October 1876. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 



Gauge. 



LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 
Gauge. 
Close time. 



CRABS. 
Decrease. 



Used for bait. 



Present : 
Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

John Mason (examined by Mr. Walpole). Has lived all his life at Stone- 
haven, is 61 years old; a fisherman; fishes for crabs and lobsters ; fishes off 
Dunnottar for crabs ; finds the lobsters and crabs all along the coast where the 
bottom is rocky. There are 5 boats from Stonehaven fishing for crabs, over 
30 boats long line fishing. The long line fishing extends 20 miles out to sea. 
Some boats carry 30, some 20, some 60 creels. There are decidedly not so 
many crabs on the Dunnottar ground as when he began fishing. They have 
all gone to Manchester and London and the better markets. They are over- 
fished. Can't see how they can be restored. Commences fishing for crabs in 
April; continues till the end of June, when the bulk of the fishermen go to the 
herrings. The herring season lasts from the 10th July to the 10th September. 
In September resumes: crab fishing, and fishes till the end of October. After 
October crabs are only used as bait. Does not think it good that they should 
be used as bait. Thinks the close time for Kincardineshire should be Novem- 
ber, December, and January. Such a close season would not be a bad thing. 
Returns many small crabs to the sea. Thinks it would be a good law to 
return all unsizeable crabs to the sea. The undersized crabs are now used 
for bait. It would be a good thing to return all under 5 inches. It would be 
a difficult thing to enforce this law ; if it could be enforced it would be desirable. 
A penalty on buyer and seller would be a restraint. 

Used to get a good few lobsters, but they are over-fished. Not nearly so many 
as there used to be. Takes all lobsters from 4 to 5 inches in the barrel. It 
would be a good law to prevent capture of lobsters less than 5 inches in the 
barrel, but it would be difficult to observe it. The crab close season (Novem- 
ber, December, and January) would do for lobster close season. Cannot 
practically catch them in these months. Thinks that crabs in roe should be 
returned to the sea, Wouldn't return berried lobsters. 

(By Mr. Young.) Crabs have not decreased so much in size as in number. 
When he commenced fishing crabs were 6d. per dozen. The last he sold were 
Is. 6d. a dozen. It would be difficult to enforce the law of gauge. There are 
many ways of evading a law at sea. If you can't stop the sale in the market, 
you can't stop their capture at all. At this time of the year (October) no 
crabs are used as bait. They are too valuable. The great bulk of the fishermen 
have given over crabbing as it doesn't |pay. Mussels are the great staple 
bait of Kincardineshire. They are very costly — 2s, 6d. the quarter basket — 



Used fur 6, 



17 

2'A of these to the ton. They are nearly 31. a ton before they are delivered at CRABS. 
Stonehaven. Crabs are the best bait if they can be used quickly, but other- 
wise they are soft and bad. Has never heard of the i)th Geo. II., which 
provides a close season for lobsters. Does not approve of the close season in 
that Act, (June, July, August,) for Kincardineshire. 

John Taylor Cowie (examined by Mr. Youny). Has been a fisherman for 
45 years. Crabs have decreased ; the decrease began about 20 years ago. The Decrease. 
decrease is due to over-fishing. Agrees with every word of Mr. Mason's evidence. 

James Noble, of Cratown (examined by Mr. Youny). Has been a fisherman 
for 20 years. Has fished a good deal for crabs. They have fallen off greatly 
in numbers since he began fishing. There are too many creels and the crabs 
are over-fished. Cratown is about two or three miles from Dunnottar and 
the Cratown ground extends about four miles along the coast. There are 
many more boats than when he commenced fishing, and the boats carry more Boats. 
than twice as many pots as they used to. Each boat, with double the number 
of pots, doesn't get half the number of crabs. The price is about three times 
what it used to be. Thinks it would be a good thing to close November, Clase time. 
December, and January. Thinks the fishermen would observe the close season. LOBSTERS 
Would rather lose the bait than take the crabs then. Has caught 30 or 40 - — 

lobsters in one creel. They have fallen off too. Thinks this is due to over- Decrease. 
fishing. Thinks the close season for lobsters should be the same as for crabs. Close time. 
Would return all crabs under 4§ inches to the water, A 5-inch crab is a fair Gauge. 
marketable crab. A lobster 4 inches in the barrel is very small. Would 
return all under 4| inches. There is no trawling on this ground. 

James Brodie (examined by Mr. Walpole), of Cratown. Has been fishing CBABs. 
for crabs for 30 years. There were nine boats at Cratown 30 years ago ; there 
are eight now. Thirty years ago boats used to carry 5 to 10 creels for each 
man • now they have 40 to 50 betwixt two men. They caught a good deal more 
with 10 to 12 creels than they do now with more than double that number. 
Thinks the close season should commence in the middle of October, and end Close timt 
at the end of January or the middle of February. There is no doubt that this 
would be a good law for the fishermen. Crabs are of little value in these 
months. A 4|-inch gauge would be a good thing for crabs. A 5-inch gauge Gauge. 
would be too large. The gauge now used for lobsters is 4| inches in the barrel. LOBSTERS. 
Below that they count two for one, and below that thinks they should all be Q a ~~~ 
returned. 



The Fife Arms Hotel, Banff, Tuesday, 10th October 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

George Finlay, of Whitehills, near Banff (examined by Mr. Youny). CRABS. 
Was born and bred a fisherman ; is now a general merchant and fish mer- 
chant. Is 53 years old. Commenced fishing for lobsters and crabs 40 years 
ago. Was at this work for 7 years. There are as many crabs caught now as. 
were caught then, but there is more machinery used in taking them. He com- Boats. 
menced fishing in 1832. An English company at that time sent clown 
welled smacks, and bought lobsters through an agent, James Logie. This 
agent engaged the fishermen who had 11. bounty and 'S\d. for every lobster Price. 
over 7 inches from tip of nose to the flap. Under this size half price. These 
smacks bought a great many lobsters, but no crabs. This system went 
on for about 12 years. After that time the smacks left the coast, as 
the lobsters were becoming so scarce that it was hardly possible to get 
them. It was also stated that the Norway lobsters were coming then into 
the market and competing with the Moray Firth lobsters. It did not 
therefore pay the smacks to come for them to the Firth. Since that time 
the lobsters have always been scarce. They have never recovered them- 
selves. Lobsters are to be had all along the shore of the Moray Firth. 
The coast is rocky near the shore, sandy further out; From 1832 'to 1843 

k 2 



18 



LOBSTERS. 



Close time. 



Breeding. 
Gauge. 



CRABS. 
Decrease. 



Migration. 
Soft. 
Used for bait. 



liedding sliells. 



Season for. 

Soft. 

Gauge. 

Decrease. 



Shedding shells 
Close time. 



Gauge, 
decrease. 



the lobsters were 3hd. each. When smacks ceased coming in 1843 an agent 
came from Eosehearty to Portsoy ; the name of the man who sent the lobsters 
away by rail was Duthie. He gave 8d. each for them. This agent remained 
about three years and then left for the Western Highlands. There has been no 
agent since, and each fisherman sends his own take away south by rail. The 
price varies, but they have had as much as 5s. for a lobster. The close season 
of the Act 9 Geo. II. cap. 33 was never known or observed here: There is 
very little doubt that a close season for lobsters would be beneficial, but it 
would be a puzzle to fix it, as lobsters breed all through the year. Thinks 
that a gauge would be beneficial and that it should be seven inches from the 
tip of the nose to the beginning of the tail. For the sake of preservation it 
would be better to return all below that size. There are not many caught 
below this size, but those that are caught are kept. Thinks no reasonable 
fisherman would object to the gauge. It would be a great advantage to return 
berried lobsters to the water, but at the same time it would be a great sacrifice 
to the fishermen. 30 per cent, of all the lobsters taken are "berried " all the 
season through. 

The crabs have also fallen off, though more are coming into the village in 
consequence of the increased number of appliances for taking them. With 
the same number of pots in 1832 they would have caught double the number 
of crabs. When he commenced taking crabs as an agent 12 years ago he 
paid lie?, for 12. The present price in Whitehills is 3s. 6d. a dozen. This is 
due to competition, and cannot probably continue. 

Produces rough chart of sea bottom adjacent to Banff, McDuff, and White- 
hills, showing that in the autumn months the crabs are out three miles from land ; 
and in the summer months, May to August, near land for shelling. 

There is very little meat in the shells in November. The crabs will make 
a close season for themselves in the winter months when they are all down in 
the sand. November, December, and January are useless months to the 
fishermen. Crabs cannot be caught in these months. Crabs are occasionally 
used as bait ; but not in November, December, and January. The principal 
bait are mussels, which come from Port Glasgow, though the crabs are the 
finest bait. The crabs are too valuable to use for bait. Would return all crabs 
under 5 inches. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) The sketch purports to show the position of the crabs 
from May to August, and in September to November. From May to August 
the crabs are on the sandy bottom near the shore, and on the adjacent reefs 
near the shore. Thinks they come on to the foreshore for the purpose 
of " shelling." The crabs at that time are in a very bad condition, though 
many people fancy them. Not 10 per cent, of the crabs caught in the 
summer months (May to August) are females. The rest are all males. The 
male crabs are, however, also in bad condition in these months. The young 
crabs (male and female) are near the shore. Though they are in bad condition 
the value does not fall. The fishermen would think it a great hardship to 
close these months. In September and October the crabs are first class. In 
November they have just spawned, and the game is up. The soft crabs on this 
part of the coast are in May, June, July, and August. Proposes as a 
remedy that no person should take any crab below a certain size. Is not 
sure whether this gauge should be 5 inches or 4^ inches. 

William Ritchie (examined by Mr. Walpole), a fisherman living at 
Whitehills. Has been a fisherman for 20 years. Heard Mr. Finlay's evidence. 
Agrees that there are fewer crabs and lobsters than when he began fishing. 
Agrees with Mr. Finlay that the crabs are near the shore from May to August, 
and further out to sea in September and October. Thinks (with Mr. Finlay) 
that the crabs cast their shells in June, July, and August. Thinks it would 
be a good thing to have a close season for crabs. Catching crabs in June, 
July, and August is like cutting green corn. The fishermen (old men) catch 
them at that season as bait, and is afraid that closing these months would be 
an injury to those old men. If those months cannot be closed, it could be no 
use closing any months. Proposes, as an alternative, a gauge. Would let no 
crab be caught under 5 inches. Lobsters are also decreasing. It is a rare 
thing now to get a lobster. Thinks it would be necessary to close lobster 
fishery altogether. There are above 30 boats at Whitehills crabbing. After the 
crab season they go to other fish. When he began there were not a dozen 



If) 

boats. There are now too many boats and too many fishermen. The price CRABS. 
is so good that almost everyone takes to fishing. 

(By Mr. Young.) There might be some difficulty in enforcing a gauge. The 
officers of the White Herring Fishery Board might possibly assist. 

James Watson, of Whitehills (examined by Mr. Young). A fisherman ; is 
about 65 or 66 years of age. Has had long experience of the crab and lobster 
fisheries. Agrees with the statements of previous witnesses. Crabs and lobsters Decrease. 
have decreased very much in numbers, and increased much in price. Recollects 
crabs 2c?. or 3c?. a dozen. They are now 3s. 6d. a dozen. Thinks there is only Pride. 
pne way to improve the crab fisheries. They ought to have a seven years' 
jubilee ; they are now practically fished out. Thinks the close season for crabs Close ll,Uc 
should commence on 1st November and end on 1st June. The crabs then are 
not in good condition. Lobsters are in season and out of season at every period LOBSTERS, 
of the year. Would have a close season for them in May, June, and July. Cl t ~~ 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Closes November to June for crabs because they are 
out of condition. They are not, however, in order in June and July ; but in 
June and July old fishermen depend on them; would not like to hurt these 
fishermen. Closes May, June, and July for lobsters, because they come in to 
the rocks then to shell. There is not so much demand for lobsters in those 
months. 

John Watt (examined by Mr. Walpole), resides at Gardenstown. Has 
been a fisherman for every kind of fish for nearly 50 years. Has been in the 
Shetlands and Orkneys, and wherever he could find plenty. The lobsters are Decrease. 
not one third so numerous either in the Moray Firth or in the Orkneys as they 
used to be. Now in the Orkneys they catch very few lobsters unless they go 
to very rough places. Goes to the Orkneys every year. Thinks the scarcity is 
due to too many people fishing for them. It is impossible to stop fishermen 
fishing altogether ; but thinks May, June, and July might be closed. The Close time. 
lobsters then come in shore and are very easily taken. Agrees with Mr. Finlay Gauge. 
that there should be a gauge, but Mr. Finlay's 7-inch gauge is too large. 
5 inches from tip of snout to the flap of tail is a fair lobster. 
If there is a gauge for crabs, it must apply to only edible crabs. 
(By Mr. Young.) Has fished in Loch Erribol. There used to be a very good 
lobster fishery there ; but it has very much fallen off. There are scarcely any Decrease. 
lobsters to be got except in very rough places. 

James Watt, son of the preceding witness (examined by Mr. Young). Has 
heard his father's evidence. Thinks that, at this season of the year, you will not Berried. 
get 3 per cent, of berried lobsters. Out of 35 lobsters caught recently only one 
was berried. In July and August the lobsters are in bad condition, and they will 
not have roes when they are in bad condition. No coast exposed to the Atlantic Weather. 
can be fished in the winter season, and the close season, June, July, and August, 
recommended by other witnesses, would prevent these fisheries being fished. 
The Act, enforcing this close season, has never beer, enforced. Personally, 
he would have June to September, inclusive, closed. Thinks a gauge for Close time. 
lobsters would be a good thing, but has never acted on this himself. Thinks 
a 7-inch gauge would be too large, and that there are many lobsters which do Gauge. 
not grow to 7 inches ; is speaking of the barrel gauge. Would have a 5-inch 
barrel gauge. Thinks it especially necessary to close August and September. 
Lobsters are then in poor condition, and easily caught. The weather is fine. 
Always gets crabs when fishing for lobsters, but never carried out crab fishing 
as a special pursuit. Would not have a close season for crabs. It would not be 
observed. Would never consent to a law that would prevent fishermen from 
taking crabs for bait. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Believes that a close season from June to September in- 
clusive would suit the fishermen at the back of the Lews, as the weather Weather. 
is so warm that the lobsters often do not go to market and the men get 
employment in other ways. 

Alexander Garden Nicholls (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at 
Gardenstown. Has been a fisherman for 20 years, fishing for lobsters and 
other fish. Has been to the West Highlands for lobsters. The lobsters are Decrease. 
not now one for three what they were. Is in favour of a close season for lobsters. Close time. 
It should be June, July, August, and September, and thinks the fishermen on 
the Moray Firth would not object to such a close season. Is in favour of a 
gauge for lobsters. A whole lobster used to be 4h inches in the barrel and Gauge. 



20 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 

Creels. 

LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 
Close time. 



Decrease. 



Spawning. 



Bait. 



Decrease. 

Close time. 
Gauge. 



Seasonfor. 



9 inches long from snout to tail. Lobsters below that size are not of much 
use, and might be returned to the water. 

Andrew Wilson [examined by Mr. Young), resides at Macduff. Has been 
a fisherman for 45 years, and has had great experience in crab fishing. Crabs 
are not so plentiful as they were. Thinks that they have decreased both in 
number and size. There are more men crab fishing now than there were 
40 years ago. When he was young all the crabs were taken in rings near the 
shore. A ring is an iron ring filled with netting, and with three braces from the 
centre. There were no creels in his younger days. They were introduced 
about 20 years ago. Thinks that all lobsters below 4 inches in the barrel 
should be returned. The lobsters are now so scarce that he can hardly get 
one. Has taken 20 in a night in olden times. The lobsters are overfished. 
Would give the lobsters, not a jubilee of seven years, but a jubilee every 
seventh year. They require a good many crabs for bait. The very smallest 
are a useful bait. There are mussel scalps in the Moray Firth. The mussels 
are very dear. They go for the mussels themselves to Cromarty and other 
places. When he first went for mussels he could get a cargo for \l. A cargo 
would cost now 20Z. No crabs are taken between the 8th of October and 
the 10th of June. They are then out of condition. Would have no gauge for 
crabs, because it would prevent the small ones being used for bait. 

James West {examined by Mr. Walpole), a fisherman at Macduff. Has 
been fishing for crabs and other fish for 40 years. 40 years ago the crab fish- 
ing was only an "orra" or bye-job. Men would go at their leisure time 
with rings and take as many as they could. The trade is now pushed hard, 
and it would be impossible to get any crabs in rings now. The crabs have 
been overfished. Would approve very much of a jubilee for crabs every 
seventh or every fourth year. Crab fishing is one third of his living. Perhaps 
20 others in Macduff are in the same case. Thinks the fishermen would be 
able to support themselves. He does not think that they would be tempted to 
break the law. Could scarcely fish for crabs without detection. It is difficult 
to fish for crabs without being seen. Thinks the fishermen could get on with 
a year of jubilee, and that it would be a good thing for them. Thinks that at 
this time of the year the roe begins to gather, and from the first of next month 
they do not fish them at all. They have already (10th October) stopped this 
year. 

Is a mussel merchant. Has been so for 22 years. 22 years ago could buy 
Clyde mussels at 14s. a ton in the Clyde. The carriage by rail was 11. 16s. 
This made the mussels about 21. 10s. a ton. In the Clyde now the mussels 
are 11. 5s., the carriage is reduced to about 11. Is. Crabs are very good bait. 
When there are few mussels, crabs are good substitutes for them. 

George Paterson (examined by Mr Young). Resides at Macduff. Has 
been a fisherman for 39 years. Has heard preceding evidence. There is not 
the fourth part of the crabs there used to be. The decrease is due to over- 
fishing. A close time v/ould do a great deal of good. The close time should 
commence 1st November and end on the 1st June. The gauge for crabs is 
A\ inches. Below that size they are used for bait. Thinks that it would be a 
good plan to give the crab fishing a rest, one year in seven, or one year in four. 
The lobsters are very nearly cleared out of this part of the country altogether. 
Recollects the London smacks coming down, and thinks that a decrease began 
with their over-fishing. 

James Watson (recalled). The Whitehills men fish six weeks later than 
the Macduff men. They find crabs all through October; they are not so good 
towards November. There is a reef of rocks opposite Whitehills, which the 
crabs come to. Whitehills is only 2| miles from Macduff. 



St Combs, Peterhead, Tuesday, 10th October 1876. 

Present : 

Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Andrew Buchan. Has fished for crabs for four years only. The first 
season, four years ago, he caught 3,368 crabs. In the second season a few 
hundreds only. The third about 4,000, and the fourth year about 5,000. He 



21 

fishes with creels and rings. There are now more creels and rings than there CRABS. 

were four years ago. The crab merchants have instituted a gauge of 4 inches 

across the back ; crabs under this gauge go two for one. He would prefer 

to put back into the water all crabs under 5 inches than give the merchants 

two for one. Would not think it oppressive to put back crabs under 5 inches. Gauge. 

Begins to fish in April and May. In the winter the crabs retire into 
deep water; and seaweed grows on their back. The close time should be from Migration. 
the 1st of September to the 1st of April. June is the best month for crabs, 
because the creels will then stand best. Goes on catching crabs till July 
and then goes to the herring fishery. 

Lobsters are getting scarce. Has heard of the lobsters being killed by the LOBSTERS, 
wreck of the vessel laden with tobacco. The tide about Rattray Point runs D ecrease 
north and south. The general size of lobsters about here is very large. 
Approves of the gauge of 4£ inches in the barrel for lobsters ; all under that size Gauge. 
should be returned to the water. Sells them by the pound. Gets from 8d. 
to 10c?. per lb. for them. 

Catches spawning hens all the year round. Would like to keep the Spaioning. 
hens for the market. His market for crabs and lobsters is Manchester and 
London. 

William Buchan. Fished for crabs last season. Began in July and 
fished on to the 2nd of August. The season about here closes itself about the Weather. 
1st of September. After that the creels will not stand on the ground on 
account of rough weather. Agrees that it would be better to put back crabs 
that are sold two for one, than sell them. Lobsters under A\ inches in the Gauge. 
barrel should be put back. Did not catch over 50 lobsters last year; the year 
before he caught about a hundred, and about the same number previous 
years. The bottom of the sea about here is all rock, except a belt of 
sand about a mile broad. The ground is too wide spread to allow the lobsters 
to be fished out. The lobsters about here are very large. Crabs are used for CRABS, 
bait in July, August, and September. Used ~ 

William Davidson, an old man, and crab fisher. Would not keep any se Jor 
crabs below 5 inches. AVould put them back rather than sell them two for Gauge. 
one. He must have crabs of all sizes for bait, for taking cod. Mussels are no 
good. The cod come in, seeking the crabs when they are shedding their shells. 
The bait he uses at that time is soft crabs. When fishing for crabs for sale, 
would have no objection to turn back the small ones, but when the cod come Used for bait. 
in they are very necessary for bait. 

Mrs. Davidson gathers crabs for bait. If not allowed to collect them in 
July and August it would be a great loss, because her husband and some other 
old men must have the crabs for bait. Has tried other bait but it failed. At 
this season her husband must have crabs to catch the cod. Mussels would 
not do. 



Inverallochy, Tuesday, 10th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

William Strachan, fisherman. Throws back all crabs under 4 inches, Gauge. 
because the curers will not buy them, or they go two for one. If these were 
thrown back, crabs would be more plentiful. Begins fishing the 1st of 
April ; about the end of July he stops fishing and goes to the herring fishery. 
Between September and April he cannot fish. The only time he can fish is close time. 
from the 1st of April to the end of August. 30 years ago he used to fish for 
crabs for bait; he now fishes for them only for the market. He could sell 
double the number if he could only get them. The coast in the neighbourhood 
is rock and sand. 

Lobsters used to be plentiful 12 years ago ; cannot say why they have fallen LOBSTERS. 

£P 

* "DcCVCCtSGm 

William Stevens. Has been fishing the last three seasons. The first year *" CRABS 

he caught a great many crabs ; the second year they were not so plentiful ; the 

third year he caught as many as he did the first year. For the last three years he Decrease. 



22 



CRABS. 



Gauge. 
Price. 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Used for bait. 



Gauge. 

Spaivning. 
Gauge. 

Migration. 
Used for bait. 



has been putting back all crabs under 4 inches ; two 4-inch crabs go for one 
whole crab. 

A great number of crabs run in size between 4 and 5 inches across the back ; 
5 inches is the standard at present ; under that they go two for one. A good 
means of increasing the supply would be to throw back all crabs under 5 inches ; 
no close time is wanted here. He does not get a better price for a ran or 
spawning hen. He gets Is. 2d. each for lobsters above 4 inches in the barrel; 
gets few lobsters below 4 inches in the barrel. 

Andrew White. Has been fishing for crabs eight or nine years. The 
fishing ground is about 6 miles, backwards and forwards, opposite the villages 
of Inverallochy and Cairnbulg. Caught few crabs last year. There were 
six boats when he began, there are now 20 boats. There is little difference 
between the number of crabs caught last season and formerly, because there 
are now more fishers. 

The railway came here about nine years ago, and opened up a market for 
the crabs. He begins fishing at the end of April and leaves off in July, and 
then goes away to the herrings. Thinks that the small crabs should be put 
back. Lobsters also under 4 inches in the barrel should be put back. Lobsters 
about here run rather large. 

James Stevens, fisherman. If crabs under 5 inches were put back it 
would be a good thing. Small lobsters also should be put back. Crabs are 
used for bait in August and September for cod which appear at that season. 
Would not like to be deprived of crabs for bait. Would not object to return 
small crabs to the water when not required for bait. Thinks that 20 boats in 
course of time might fish out the ground. 

Andrew Ritchie. Fisherman for 12 years. Thinks a gauge is necessary. 
All crabs below 4 inches should be put back, except when they are wanted for 
bait to catch cod in July, August, and September. 

John Strachan. Has been a fisherman for 40 years. Thinks it impossible 
to over-fish the ground. Crabs spawn far out at sea, where they cannot be 
reached. The adult and young crabs come inshore in the summer time. If 
the small crabs, that is below 4 inches, were thrown back into the water, it 
would tend to keep up the stock. 

The crabs retire from the shore in the autumn. They come back in the spring. 
It would be unjust to deprive the fishermen of the use of them as bait. They 
cast their shells in August and September. Would greatly object to any law 
about crabs if the law proposed made it illegal to use crabs for bait during the 
months of July, August, and September, because the crabs then are the best 
bait for cod. If a law were made prohibiting the use of crabs for bait it would 
be broken, especially in the case of old people, who then would be obliged to 
break the law in order to get a living. 



Fraserburgh, Tuesday, 10th October 1876. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 



Present : 

Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

James Lowdon, Fraserburgh. Has been a dealer in crabs and lobsters for 
six years. Has bought crabs from Inverallochy, St. Combs, Cairnbulg, 
Fraserburgh, and Rosehearty. Crabs have diminished, not so much in quantity 
as in size. The average size used to be 6 inches across the back ; now it is 
about 5 inches. Attributes the decrease to over-fishing, and to fishing in 
July, August, and September. e ' Shell " crabs should not be taken at all in 
those months. They are taken for bait in that time. The supply of cod does 
not depend on soft crabs at that time. In April, May, and June crabs are 
worth more than at any other time of the year. Crab fishing should only be 
allowed from 1st April to 12th July. During the other months of the year 
crab fishing should not be allowed, as they are not in a marketable state. 
Would further suggest that means should be used to protect crabs during the 
whole year from idlers, who gather the small ones to a great extent from under 



23 

tide-mark. Has no doubt that if these crabs were protected the crab fishing CRABS, 
on this coast would greatly improve. 

All crabs under 5 inches should go back into the water. Crabs do not grow Gauge. 
so large here as about Peterhead and in the South. A rule was made in the 
Firth of Forth that no crabs under 5 inches should be sold. Those under 5 
inches go two for one. The price has increased 50 per cent, in the markets at 
London and other places. Does not know the rate of growth in the crab. 
All crabs now counted two for one should be returned. Does not get so many LOBSTERS. 

lobsters now as he got four years ago. The reason is that there are not so 

many about. Lobster fishing is not of much consequence on this coast. Decrease. 
They are caught principally about Rosehearty. All lobsters under 4£ inches Gauge. 
in barrel, or 7 inches in length, should be returned to the water. A whole 
lobster is 7 inches in length, and all under this size ought to be returned. 
Does not get so many " half " lobsters as " whole " lobsters. The price has 
increased. He only gets lobsters when they are coming in from all other 
parts of the coast. Lobsters then are worth 9d. or 10c?. to Is. per lb. In Price. 
January, February, and March, however, they fetch long prices. 

In July, August, and September he gets ran or berried lobsters ; these Spawning. 
should be returned to the water. The spawn should not be killed. Merchants 
give 5 per cent, more for a ran hen, than for a lobster without spawn. If ran 
hens were put back, it would increase the number of lobsters. The herring 
fishing begins about the 10th July. Lobster fishing in this neighbourhood is 
of little consequence because the men cannot get a good price for them in the 
London market. 

Walter Noble, fisherman at Fraserburgh. Has fished for crabs and CRABS. 
lobsters nearly 30 years. Uses 30 creels. Puts his nets down at the end of 
April, and takes them up on June 20. Then the partans come to shore to Shedding shells. ," 
cast their shell, and will not take the bait. They will not take bait when soft. 
They spawn in September and August. The smallest partan is about the size 
of a man's nail. Catches these in July and August in considerable quantities. 
A 5-inch crab would be three to four years old. Partans are very good bait. Used for bait. 
They are called " Pullers " when their shells are loose. " Meticks " is another 
name for soft crabs. There is plenty of bait at this time of the year (October). 
Crabs are easiest managed ; they should not be used for bait. There are four 
boats fishing now for crabs and lobsters at Fraserburgh. The ground is 
fished out by hunting them so much. The remedy is to put back all crabs 
that count two for one, and enact a gauge, fixing the minimum size at 5 inches. Gauge. 
" Two-for-one " crabs should also be preserved. Considerable destruction is 
caused by women and children catching crabs and lobsters before they have 
come to maturity. 

Lobsters have fallen off very much. They are too much fished in the sum- LOBSTERS, 
mer and winter. x\t Rosehearty there are five boats. Each boat carries 25 to 
30 creels. They work over the ground, which is 4 miles long and extends Decrease. 
a quarter mile out to sea. Twenty to thirty years ago they used to catch 100, 
70, or 80 in the 24 hours. They now get a dozen to half a score in the 
24 hours. Twenty years ago they used to consider a lobster of 9 inches a 
whole lobster ; below that they went two for one. All below 9 inches should Gauge. 
be put back. The measurement should be from the joint above the tail. 
Two-for-one lobsters should be put back. Twenty-eight years ago smacks 
used to come. The railway was opened 11 years ago. There should be a close close time. 
time from the end of August to March at Fraserburgh to give the lobsters 
time to " gather up " again. The railway may be the original cause of scarcity, 
by opening up new markets. 

William Buchan, Fraserburgh. Has fished for crabs and lobsters for 20 CRABS, 
years. Crabs have greatly decreased. The cause is the taking of " soil," i.e., ^ 
young crabs. These young fish are not fit for use. All " two-for-one " crabs, ec7ease - 
i.e., all under 5 inches, should be put back. Lobsters under 4 J inches Gauge. 
in the barrel should be put back. The coast is being made bare by the women 
and children taking the " soil." Crabs should not be allowed to be used for 
bait. The fishermen could get other bait. 

John Mellis, M.D. Has taken an interest in the fisheries. Suggests that Enforcement of 
the boats used for the crab and lobster fishery should be licensed and carry a law - 
distinctive Hag or mark, and be looked after by the coast guard, [f they make 



24 



LOBSTERS. 



Decrease. 



Gauge. 

Soft. 

Close time. 
CEABS. 



any breach of the law, the fishermen should be brought before a Justice of the 
Peace. 

Andrew Duthie, fisherman, Duke Street, Fraserburgh. Is 39 years of 
age. Lobsters are decreasing, because fishing is excessive. Creels have 
increased sixfold in the last two years. Would recommend that all lobsters 
under 8 inches should be put back into the water. Lobsters turn soft about 
July and August, and when they have spawn they should be returned ; this 
would greatly increase them. Fishes most in shallow water with rings, and 
with creels in deeper water. There should be a close time for lobsters in July, 
August, and September. Crab fishing has not been developed here till the 
last few years. Great quantities are landed. Would return all crabs under 
4 inches. Creels should not be used for crabs during July, August, and 
September. Considerable numbers are wasted by children gathering them 
from under the rocks when immature. 



Trade in. 



Baihvays. 



Station Hotel, Inverness, Wednesday, 11th October 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

William Campbell, 72, Castle Street, Inverness {examined by Mr. 
Walpole), Was for some time, beginning in 1869, traffic manager for the Great 
Northern and North Eastern Railways at Inverness. His district extended 
over all the Northern portions of Scotland from Perth to the Shetland Isles, 
Portree, Stornoway, and the outer Hebrides. Has known these districts 
for 40 years. In the above capacity his attention was drawn to the fish 
traffic, commencing with the Inverness white fish traffic (sprats) ; the 
trade was at first very small, and gradually developed till 800 to 1,000 
barrels a day were sent to London. In 1869 he began to consign shell fish 
to London. These crabs and lobsters came from the West coast of Suther- 
land, 60 miles by land from Loch Inver and other places to Lairg, and 
thence per railway. They had not equal facilities for sending the fish from 
the other places. The quantity of crabs and lobsters is unlimited, but the 
expense of the land journey from Loch Inver to Lairg is a great barrier to the 
development of that traffic. His attention was directed to Loch Inver because 
there was a great demand for lobsters in London, and the Sutherland Rail- 
way did not go beyond Golspie. When the railway was extended to Helmsdale, 
the lobsters came from Wick and the West coast of Caithness-shire. The 
Dingwall and Skye line was opened in 1870, and had the effect of opening 
up a traffic from Stornoway and Portree. The lobsters from these places 
had previously gone to Glasgow by steamer. The Post Office are now 
establishing a new route to Harris and the Outer Isles, via Strome, which 
will have "the effect of sending an unprecedented supply of lobsters to the 
London market. The fisherman in Benbecula alone are prepared to 
supply the London market with 500 dozen lobsters a week from the Atlantic 
coast. He contracted to do so with Forbes, Stuart, & Co., but the lobsters 
did not live to reach Greenock. The lobsters went from Oban. There 
are at Greenock and Oban 40 or 50 men" doing nothing but receiving lobsters 
from the Outer Hebrides. They take them out of the heavy boxes they arrive 
in, and repack them in light boxes for the railways. Believes that the fisheries 
in these places on the outer or Atlantic side are inexhaustible, and that, 
when facilities for the transit of the crabs and lobsters caught there are 
created, the great fishery will be not on the Minch, but on the Atlantic 
side of these islands. The only good harbours in these islands, at present, are 
on the Minch side. Is acquainted with Loch Erribol. That loch is not fished 
out ; but given up owing to the length of the land carriage. The remoteness 
of the situation of that loch is alone interfering with the fishery. There are 
40,000 people in the Long Island dependent on fishing, and they are worse 
off for communication than the Pacific Islanders. The Post Office are now 
affording increased communication, which will open up these fisheries. The 



25 

carriage of lobsters from Strome Ferry to London is 31. 15.9. to 41. per ton. Is 
not afraid of the fisheries being exhausted. All that is required is transit 
facility. There are beds of crabs and lobsters on the Atlantic side which have 
never been touched by the hand of man, and will last for 1,000 years. The 
traffic which he spoke of at Benbecula goes on to Barra Head. In the fishing 
season there is an increase of 15,000 to 20,000 people in the population of the 
Long Island. 

If the Atlantic fisheries were opened up no close time and no gauge would 
be required for either crabs or lobsters. 

Adam Macdonald (examined by Mr. Young). Is a pastry-cook in the CRABS. 
High Street, Inverness. Used to deal largely in crabs and lobsters. Since 
18-1:2 he has been purchasing them for the purpose of sale. They are 
not nearly so plentiful now as they were in 1 842 ; have fallen off more 
than one half. Used to get them from the fishers at Nairn, who went over 
to Brora, where the crabs were caught. They have not fallen off in size. 
Thinks the decrease is due to the fishermen killing the hen crabs when they Decrease. 
are berried. He refuses to take them personally when they are berried. The 
hen crab in spawn is full of water. The hen lobsler in berry is in its best 
condition. On this coast, the hen crabs get out of condition about the middle Season for. 
of October. There is little meat in the shell then. Has heard that the 
fishermen use the crabs for bait, but does not know it of his own knowledge. 
Mussels are the principal bait. Sand eels and herrings are used when they can 
be got. Used to buy crabs as small as 4 inches, never below this. Has seen a 
very good 4-inch crab, but does not think they are so wholesome as the larger. 
Would return all crabs below 4^ inches to the sea. The fishermen tell him Gauge. 
that the crabs in these localities have been fished out. Thinks that there 
should be a close season for crabs from 1st November to 1st March. A Close time. 
4|-inch gauge, combined with a close time in those months, would be a great 
benefit to the crab fisheries. 

The lobsters have fallen off equally with the crabs. Has to send now to LOBSTERS. 
Wick or Kirkwall for his lobsters. They go from Wick to Aberdeen per B 
steamer, and thence here by rail. The price of lobsters and crabs has doubled 
since 1842. This is due both to the increased demand for them and to the 
difficulty of getting them. Thinks it would be a good thing to have a gauge Gauge. 
for lobsters. No lobster should be taken under 5 inches in the barrel. There 
should not be a close time for lobsters. They are in season all the year round. Season for. 
Never heard of the 9 Geo. II. c. 33, s. 4, which imposes a close season for 
lobsters. The fishermen are not aware of it. The lobsters are in excellent 
condition in that close season — June, July, and August. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Crabs are of no use in May ; better in June, and go on CRABS. 
getting better. Not good enough to be eaten in June ; may be eaten in July. ' 

Is speaking of the female crabs. The male crabs are in good order at Christ- " eason f° r ' 
mas. Very good order in January and February. Would not like to say they 
were in good order to March and April. The principal demand here is for 
females. There would be no difficulty in making the close season applicable 
to any females. The males are not in good order in November, they get in 
good order about Christmas. 



Eoyal Hotel, Thurso, Friday, 13th October 1876. 

Present: 

Archibald Young, Esquire. 

William Thomson, residing in Thurso. Has been a crab and lobster 
fisherman for 35 years. There are a good many crabs all about the coast from 
Loch Erribol to Duncansby Head ; but not a fourth of the number are now Decrease. 
taken that were got 35 years ago. There has been a decrease also in size. 
Fished with rings when he was first a fisherman ; but about 15 years ago the 
fishermen gave up the rings and used crab-pots instead. These are much 
more deadly than the rings. 



26 



CRABS. 

Decrease. 



Close time. 

LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 

Spawning. 
Gauge. 

Close time. 



Decrease. 



CRABS. 

Gauge. 



LOBSTERS. 



Price. 



The number of boats engaged in crab fishing is four times greater than 
35 years ago. Far more crabs would be got with the increased number 
of boats and pots now if the crabs were as plentiful as formerly, but only a 
fourth part are taken nowadays. The number of crabs has, therefore, very 
greatly diminished. The fishermen used to return all crabs under 6 inches to 
the water. Thinks that over-fishing is the cause of the diminution. Some of 
the boats engaged in crabbing have from 20 to 30 pots. Crabs are not used 
here as bait for the long lines, limpets are used. There are no mussel scalps 
on this part of the coast. Is in favour of a gauge, and would return all crabs 
under 5 inches to the sea. Crabs are in the best condition just now (October). 
Next month they begin to fall off and get watery. There is scarcely any meat 
in their shells, only in the claws. Approves of a close time for crabs, from 
1st November to 1st March. 

Lobsters are getting scarce. Four times as many were taken 35 years ago 
as are taken now, yet there are now four times as many boats fishing. 35 
years ago 2\d. and 3d. was the price of a marketable lobster ; now Is. 6d. is 
paid. Lobsters are now sent south by train, London is the chief market. 
Thinks that lobsters spawn in June. Berried hens bring the highest price in 
the market. Would put back all lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel. Never 
heard of any Act of Parliament fixing a close time for lobsters. They are 
fished for here the whole year round. Thinks that there should be a close time 
from 1st March till the end of June. 

Remembers smacks coming down from London more than 30 years ago. 
There were then two or three smacks. They took the whole catch from Loch 
Erribol to Duncansby Head. Loch Erribol was then a great place for 
lobsters. More than 10,000 were taken from it in a single season ; but owing 
to the over-fishing to supply these smacks, the fishing there and all along the 
north coast has very much fallen off. The over-fishing began with these smacks. 
If you have a close time for crabs and lobsters you must also forbid buying, 
selling, or having in possession for the purposes of sale any crabs or lobsters 
during such close season. The fishermen about here have been talking of the 
necessity of a close time. They find that the fisheries are suffering from the 
want of it. It is only the present high prices that are keeping them up. 

William Manson, Thurso. Has been 40 years a fisherman and has had 
a good deal of experience in the crab and lobster fisheries. Agrees with the 
preceding witness that there has been a great falling off in these fisheries. 
Both crabs and lobsters have very much increased in price. There ought to be 
a gauge, and no crab under 5 inches should be allowed to be taken, and no 
lobster under 4 inches in the barrel. Has heard the evidence of the pre- 
ceding witness and entirely agrees with it. 

William Dunbar, Brawl Castle, Thurso. Has had a long and ex- 
tensive acquaintance with the fisheries on this part of the coast. Used to 
get large numbers of lobsters 25 years ago. Both crabs and lobsters have now 
fallen off at least half. Thinks this is very much owing to the over-fishing. 
From the improved appliances for fishing and the increased number of boats, 
the fishermen now should get twice as many crabs and lobsters as they did 
formerly if they were as plentiful, whereas they only get half as many ; there 
should be a gauge and all crabs under 5 inches should be returned to the sea. 
Would also have a gauge for lobsters and would return all under 4| inches in 
the barrel. It is "killing the goose that lays the golden eggs " to take them 
too young. Crabs are now (October) in about the best condition. They begin to 
fall off in November. Male crabs are in good order at Christmas. Would have 
no close time for crabs ; a 5-inch gauge would be sufficient. The gauge would 
require to be combined with a provision against buying, selling, or having in 
possession for the purposes of sale any crab or lobster under the prescribed size. 
Remembers the smacks coming down from London 32 years ago. In 1844 
they came to Loch Laxford for lobsters ; but they had been down on the coast 
for years before. They took the whole catch along the west and north coasts 
from Ru More near Loch Broom to Strathy Head half way between Cape Wrath 
and Duncansby Head. One smack would take from 20,000 to 30,000 lobsters. 
The fisheries have never recovered the over-fishing at that time. These 
smacks used to give 6d., ?d., and 8c?. for lobsters of Ah, inches in the barrel and 
upwards. The small lobsters below that size counted two for one, The 
fishermen can now fish with the creels where they could not fish with the 



rings. They can fish in much deeper water. It is only the increased prices LOBSTERS. 

that keep up the fishings. A man could not now make half wages at the old 

prices. Lochs Laxford and Erribol and the Kyles of Tongue are almost fished 

out. They would not now yield anything like half of what they used to yield. 

Never heard of the Act 9 Geo. II. c. 33, s. 4, enacting a close time for lobsters 

from 1st June to 1st September. It is neither known nor observed here. The 

close months in that Act would be very suitable for lobsters in this country, 

for the lobsters are then out of condition. But the Norwegian lobsters are 

then in first-rate condition, at least up to the 10th August. Would have no 

close time for lobsters, but a 4|-inch barrel gauge. Would allow berried hens Gauge. 

to be taken all the year round. Berried hens are the most valuable lobsters in Berried. 

the market. There would be plenty left for stock. The gauge would provide 

against killing them too young. Crabs are never used as bait for the long 

lines here, but limpets chiefly, and sometimes mussels. 



The Town Hall, Wick, Friday, 13th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland and Spencer Walpole, Esquires. 

Donald Thomson {examined by Mr. Buckland). Lives at Dunnet Head CRABS. 

Has been a fisherman for 35 years, from the Ord of Caithness to Cape Wrath. 
Till within the last few years fished with rings, fishes now with creels. The 
supply of crabs has fallen off far more than one half in number. They have Decrease. 
not fallen off in size. The average size is 7 inches, but there are some as small 
as 3 inches. The small crabs are mostly hove overboard, because they are of 
no value. They are too far from any market to send their crabs. They are 
given away. His trade is principally in lobsters. Never gives them away. 
20 years ago they did not commence fishing till 20th April, and continued 
till 30th June. They think the crabs are rather too many, because they destroy Valueless. 
the bait for the lobsters. The lobsters are sent by rail to London. 

Has been fishing lobsters 35 years. They have fallen off very much. Used LOBSTERS, 
formerly to get from 10 to 18 hundred in a year. Now won't get more than 400 
to 500. Used to have 40 rings. The size of lobsters is much the same. The decrease. 
lowest size is 8 inches from the tip of the snout to the tail. They don't sell 
any below that size. The decrease is attributable to the creel fishing. The 
creels are fishing every day and night all the year round. This should not be 
allowed. It has been going on during the last seven years. Fishes now with 
creels only in the Pentland Frith about 6 miles. The creels fish in water from 
10 to 20 fathoms deep. The fish go away from the land to hibernate. Thinks Migration. 
that the lobsters are over-fished. Is in favour of a close season for lobsters. Close time. 
Lobsters should only be fished from the 1st March to the 15th June. The 
rest of the year should be entirely closed. The lobsters during the rest of the 
year are full of water and unfit for human food. The lobsters generally spawn Spawning. 
in July, August, and September. Then finds the Ran hens. Finds a few 
Ran hens at other periods of the year, but not many. Thinks the Ran hens 
should always be returned. The fishermen get no more for the Ran hens than 
the other lobsters. Sells the lobsters to an agent. In cold weather the lobster 
will live eight days out of water. They are packed in seaweed. The lobsters are 
measured from the tip of the horn to the end of the tail. Thinks all lobsters 
under 8 inches should be returned to the water. Never fishes lobsters in harvest Gauge. 
because they are not good. Has found the cast skins in creels in June and in 
May. Doesn't know when the young lobsters are hatched out. Has seen 
lobsters as small as 2 inches. Thinks that heavy gales of wind destroy the Weather. 
young lobsters. Has no suggestion to make except the close season and the 
gauge. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) There are about 10 boats on the mainland fishing for Boats. 
lobsters in the Pentland Frith. There are 12 to 15 from Stroma Island, and 
there are occasional boats from the coast between Duncansby Head and Wick. 
35 years ago there were 20 boats from the mainland, and about the same 
number from Stroma. 35 years ago all these boats had rings and no creels. 



28 



LOBSTERS. 



Creels. 



Migration. 



Price. 



Close time. 



Baitfor. 



Decrease. 



Each boat now carries 30 to 40 creels : he (witness) carries 60. The creels are 
generally placed about 22 yards from each other. The rings were not half that 
distance from each other. The deepest water in which the rings could be 
fished was 10 fathoms. The creels are generally fished from 15 to 20 fathoms. 
As the weather gets warm the lobsters are coming into shoal water. They 
generally draw in to land on the 1st March, and remain in shoal water till 
middle of July. Thinks they leave the land in July, return in the harvest 
time ; and in October they again draw off into deep water. So long as rings 
were the only instruments in use it was impossible to fish for lobsters from 
October to March, and therefore during six months there was practically a 
close time. Attributes decrease to invention of creels. Would be glad to see 
a law made that it should be illegal to use creels. Does not know what other 
fishermen would say to such a law, but knows that all fishermen think that 
creels are the ruin of the fishing. Would be in favour both of a close season 
and prohibition of creels, but prohibition of creels would practically secure the 
close season. The creels are destructive in deep water where there are no 
weeds. In shallow water the weeds close the doors of the creels. There 
would not be so much harm in using the creels in the summer months. 

Thirty-five years ago lobsters were 4c?. each. Smacks came down from 
London and carried them away. They were a good few years at 4c?. About 
20 years ago they became 6d. They remained 6d. for four or five years. They 
then rose per head 2s. each in February and March, and Is. in April and May. 
It is two years ago since the railway was made. Never went lobster fishing 
to the Orkneys nor the Outer Hebrides. Can't carry creels so far, and so is 
obliged to stay at home. 

(By Mr. Buckland.) Is in favour of prohibiting creels in the winter months 
and harvest time. But the fishermen might rebel against this. Would himself 
prefer that creels should be prohibited altogether. Has heard of 9 Geo. II. 
c. 33 instituting a close season for lobsters, but never knew it observed. Cannot 
say who should carry out the law. There are no coastguard here. The 
officers of the White Herring Board might carry the law out. 

John Bain (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Keiss, seven miles north 
of this. Has been a fisherman for 13 years. Has been occasionally fishing for 
lobsters. Begins lobster fishing about March, and goes to the herrings in the 
middle of May. The herring fishing continues till the 6th September. After 
that goes out line fishing for haddock and other fish. After that gets herring 
for bait. Herring is the principal bait. Never used crabs for bait. 13 years ago 
there were four boats lobster fishing between Duncansby Head and Keiss, now 
there are five boats. 1 3 years ago fished principally with rings, now almost 
entirely with creels. Each boat carries different numbers of creels. Can 
work 40 creels at home, 20 to 30 creels when they go away. There is not one 
lobster now on the coast, for six 13 years ago. The price of lobsters 13 years 
ago ranged from 15c?. to 4s. The price is much the same, ifj anything less, now. 
Can't account for the decrease of price with the decrease of fish. It may be 
due to the Norway lobster. Would be glad to see a close time for lobsters. 
The close season should begin about the middle of June, it should not end 
before the end of January. There are plenty of boats lobster fishing these 
months, and they ought to be stopped. He does not try for lobsters in those 
months himself because the lobsters are not good and the price is small. 
Thinks a close season of this kind would restore the fishery. 

Has heard Mr. Thomson's evidence about creels. Creels are no more destruc- 
tive than rings. Gets very few small lobsters. Was one year in Orkney, 
five years ago. Didn't find many lobsters, the weather was unfavourable. 
This was in January. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) Flounders are the principal bait for lobsters. Lobsters 
will, but crabs will not, take a stinking bait. Thinks Ran hens should be 
put back, but they are very valuable. The fishermen might be discontented 
with a close season, but it would be a benefit to them. 

Finlay McLean (examined by Mr. Buckland). Has been fishing for crabs 
and lobsters on both sides of the Moray Frith and at the Land's End for 40 
years. Lobsters have fallen off very much. Used 40 years ago to average 20 
to 25 lobsters in a night. Wouldn't now perhaps catch seven. In four months 
caught 1,000 lobsters for Mr. Barnes. Does not know whether he could now 
catch 400 in the same time. Thinks the decrease is due to their being killed, 



29 

big and little, all the year round, Has not fished for lobsters for four years, crabs. 

the fishing is so bad. He fishes now from Sinclair's Bay to Wick Bay. 

Fishes now for crabs. Has occasionally sent them to Aberdeen. Sometimes 

sells them here. They have not decreased. They are principally used for bait, Used for bait. 

and from the month of April to the end of October they are important as 

bait for cod, haddock, and coal fish. There are no mussels nearer than the 

Dornoch Firth. A great many crabs are broken up for bait in the course of 

the year. Has had from 70 to 80 crabs in each of four creels made for the 

purpose of catching them. The greater part of these crabs were used as food, 

the rest for bait. It would be a great hardship to prevent the crabs being used 

for bait. There are six families in one village in Sinclair's Bay who live 

entirely by using crabs for bait. Can't get herrings for bait in October. 

Thinks a close season for lobsters would be very good, but it should be in LOBSTERS, 
the spawning season. Lobsters spawn all the year round. The greater 
number of lobsters are spawning between June and September. These four Spawning. 
months should be closed. The close season should apply both to Cornwall Close time. 
and Scotland. The Wick fishermen do not use crabs for bait. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) The 1,000 lobsters caught in four months for Mr. Barnes 
were taken in Banffshire between Port Knockie and Portsoy. Has not 
been on that ground for 24 years. But from the accounts he has had thinks 
he couldn't get 1,000 lobsters there now. Has not been to the Land's End for 
32 years. Was there in February and March. The weather wasn't too bad to 
fish some nights. Doesn't know whether stopping fishing in summer months 
in Cornwall and the Atlantic side of the Lews would be tantamount to stopping 
fishing altogether. Is over threescore years old and has not prosecuted 
lobster fishing for three or four years. Hasn't given up lobster fishing Decrease. 
because of his age, but because the lobsters are too few. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) The best season for lobsters here is from January to Season for. 
June. From June to September they are watery and bad. 

David Gunn {examined by Mr. Walpole). Is a fish merchant in Wick. Has 
been in business for 35 or 40 years. Buys lobsters from fishermen and sends 
them away. Thirty-five years ago had dealings with about four boats. Lobsters 
were 3^d. to 4d. They were sent away by steamer to London and Leith. Lost Price. 
a great many lobsters in the transit in the hot weather. In the cold weather 
they carried easily. There was a good deal of loss in the transit in the summer 
months. The price is usually low in the summer months. Attributes this (1) 
to increased supply in London markets from other places, and (2) to difficulty 
of carrying the lobsters in hot weather. In 1852 the price of lobsters was 6d.; 
in 1857 5d. They remained at 6c?. till about 1855, and then gradually rose to 
Is. and Is. 6d. There was no falling off of lobsters before 1851. After 
1851 there was an increased competition for lobsters in the Wick market. 
This led to increased fishing and increased price. The increase of price was 
first due not to decreased supply but increased demand. From about 1860 
there has been a decrease in the supply. Attributes this decreased supply to 
the over-fishing consequent on the increased demand after 1851. Thinks the 
proper remedy is to do away with the creels. Is not sure that the lobsters are Creels. 
not becoming accustomed to creels and won't get into them. Thinks that the 
men in shallow water might catch more lobsters in rings than in creels. The 
creel is not so much concealed with the weed as the ring. The diameter of 
the ring is 21 inches. The creel is 2 to 3 feet by 16 inches deep. Wishes to 
resume ring fishing (1) because he considers it more efficient in shallow 
water, and (2) because it would be a protection to lobsters in deep water. If 
rings only were used, would be only possible to catch lobsters from 1st March 
to 15th June. There is a great demand for lobsters in the London market in 
January, February, and March. Could get some lobsters in rings in these 
months. 

Doesn't deal in crabs. Thinks they are falling off very much. The people CRABS, 
used to bring them into the town by cartloads, now there are hardly any. — 

The district in which they are caught, Sinclair's Bay, is narrow; they are Decrease. 
over-fished and so falling off. Would give lobsters and crabs the same close Close time. 
season, June, July, and August. During the rest of the year lobsters and 
crabs might both be taken. 

{By Mr. Buckland.) Welled boats were given up because they didn't pay. 
There was less loss by the steamer than by welled boats. Some of the fisher- 



30 



LOBSTERS, men would object to a close season in June, July, and August. This used to 
be the close season. The merchants would not formerly take them after the 
15th June. Now they take them at any time of the year. Doesn't think that 
the lobster fishery will entirely be destroyed without fresh legislation, but it 
will decrease very much. Is in favour of a standard of 4| inches in the barrel. 

Gauge. This is now the standard for a full fish. There are parts of the coast (near 

Hoy) where the lobsters are very small. They are large at other places 
(Dunnet for instance). Has seen 1,000 lobsters in April, and not two lobsters 
over 4| inches. These were from the north coast of Hoy Island. The lobsters 
are always small there. It may be a small breed. Got 2s. 6d. each in London 
for these small lobsters. Eight days afterwards only got 4c?. apiece in London 
for lobsters. Doesn't know who could carry out close season unless a party 
was appointed for the purpose. 

Alexander Mitchell, chief constable, Caithness-shire (examined by Mr. 
Buckland). Is acquainted with crabs and lobsters from seeing them in 
market. Crab fishing is not prosecuted to the south of Wick. North of Wick 
and on the shores of the Pentland Frith the lobster fishery is of considerable 

Decrease. importance. There is no doubt that the supply of lobsters has been falling 

off. This is due to the increased price and consequent over-fishing. Would 
propose, as a remedy, to limit the fishing season, and to prevent the capture 
of small immature fish. Is not sufficiently acquainted with the subject to say 
what the close season should be, or what the gauge should be. No Act like the 
9 Geo. II. c. 33 has ever been enforced in the county of Caithness. The people 
are not aware of it. Thinks that there would be no difficulty in carrying out 
the law of close season. The fishermen are a law-abiding people, and would 
obey the law with very little compulsion. The fishery officers might carry it 
out where they are stationed; and north of Wick, where there are no fishery 
officers, it could be enforced by the police. After May the whole population is 
absorbed by the herring fishery, and none but old men are left. They return 
from the Lews in the middle of June, but are so busy in preparing for the 
east coast fishing that all other fishing is disregarded^till September, when they 
commence haddock fishing. The lobsters therefore have a very good time 
of it. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) The duties of the police would not be materially in- 
creased by their employment on these services. Would perhaps have to apply 
for one additional man. Does not think that it would be fair to tax the 
agricultural ratepayers to protect fisheries, and is aware of no authority who 
could pay for it unless the Fishery Board undertook it. Believes the Fishery 
Board to be self-supporting. 

Donald Thomson {recalled), The lobsters will get out of the pots when 
daylight begins. It is easier for them to get in than out. Believes that the 

Get out of creels, lobsters are getting acquainted with the creel. They go out and in of the 
creel very quick. When the creels are in one place the lobsters get accustomed 
to them, and they have to shift the creels. 

John Mackie, editor of the " Northern Ensign " (examined by Mr. Walpole). 
Has lived 33 years in Wick ; has interested himself a good deal in the fisheries. 
Concurs with Mr. Thomson's evidence almost entirely. There has been a very 

Decrease. great decrease in supply of lobsters on the coast, and this is due to the over- 
fishing. Concurs also with the remedies which Mr. Thomson proposes. These 
are the prohibition of creels, the close season, and a gauge. Thinks a close 
season would be the most comprehensive remedy. Thinks that the creel is 
certainly a more efficient engine than the ring, and that a close season would 
be better and cover the difficulty. Thinks that Parliament should be guided by 
the evidence of the fishermen as to what the close season should be. Thinks 
it necessary to have a gauge for lobsters. Thinks that the capture of the 1,000 
small lobsters on the north-west coast of Hoy was a wholly exceptional event, 
and ought not to regulate legislation. 
CRABS. The existence of crabs in the locality is purely nominal ; they have fallen off 
very much, and are a great scarcity in the market. There were a great many 

Decrease. crabs 20 years ago. The locality is not unsuited to crabs, but something has 

interfered with their production; this no doubt is over-fishing. Proposes 
for crabs the same remedies as Mr. Gunn suggests. 

The herring fishers are not usually the crab and lobster fishers. None of 
the Dunnet men go to the crab and lobster fishing. The attraction of the 



31 

herrings does not afford a sort of natural close season to the crabs and 
lobsters. The lobster lishers are to a great extent dependent on the iobster 
fishing. Thinks that the benefit from the close season would compensate them 
for the temporary loss they might incur; and the decrease is gradually in- 
creasing, so the temporary loss must in any case occur. 

(By Mr. Backland.) The fishermen in the course of a feiv months or so 
would be so much benefited that they might stand the temporary loss. Would 
allow the use of crabs for bait. They are only used to a limited extent. Lim- 
pets are largely used. It is not necessary in the district to have any law about 
use of crabs for bait. 

Thinks that any law that is made should be enforced by fishery officers. Enforcement of 
There are two at Wick, four in the fishing season, and they could easily carry law ' 
out the law. The fishery officers are stationed — two at Wick, one 13 miles 
south at Lybster, one at Helmsdale 20 miles further on, one at Cromarty, one 
at Burghead, one at Buckie, one at Macduff, one at Fraserburgh, one at 
Peterhead. The nearest officer north of Wick is at St. Margaret's Hope at 
Orkney; there is one at Shetland, one at Stornoway. The fishery officers are 
constantly travelling about the coast, and could then manage to enforce the 
close season. The Wick officer once or twice a year makes a circuit of the coast 
from Wick to Cape Wrath. 

William Reid, commission agent, Wick (examined by Mr. Buckland). Born T ^ 

60 years ago, has studied natural history for a long time, has paid special 

attention to the natural history of the lobster. The eggs of the lobster are 
formed inside, they are then in a very minute form, and latterly they are pawmn 9 °j- 
extruded by two canals in the body of the fish and are made to adhere under 
the tail. Believes that they are not all extruded at the same time. There are 
from 24,000 to 30,000 eggs in a lobster. Believes each hen lobster spawns 
once a year. Most of the berried hens are found from April to June. From 
March to July never partook of a hen without coral in or outside of her. 
Thinks the hen carries her eggs for a very long time, because in the same fish 
he finds the minute coral inside and the berries outside. These are gradually 
extruded just as the hen gradually lays her eggs. Thinks lobsters are in the best 
condition before the eggs are extruded, but the cooks value them when they 
are berried. Believes that the young when they are hatched out are not Young of 
protected by their mother. Thinks that the decrease is not due to storms, 
which always occurred, but to over-fishing. Is opposed to a close season 
because lobsters are in the best condition when they are in roe. A close season 
could never be carried out. In Orkney, where he has lived for 30 years, there 
are 60 islands, 30,000 people, 1 fishery officer, and 3 police, and the law of 
close season could not be carried out. The same thing applies to the Western 
Highlands. All lobsters under 8 to 9 inches long, or 4| inches in the barrel, Gauge. 
should be put back. This law could be enforced in the markets. The law of 
close season could also be enforced in the markets, and believes that any law 
to be made must be enforced in the markets. There would be a difficulty 
about the close season because the lobsters might arrive from other places. 
If there is a close season it must be a universal close season, and it would be 
necessary to stop importation in those months. The lobster fishery at Wick 
was, but is not now, an important industry. They have fallen off in numbers, 
and there are other fishings more profitable, e.g., herrings in summer, had- 
docks in autumn,, cod and herrings in winter. The enactment of the gauge 
would to a limited extent remedy the decrease, but not entirely. 

Believes the fertilisation of the ova in the lobster is effected in the ordinary 
way. The lobster is called zoea in its early shape. Sees a French book says 
they shed their shell four times a year. Has no opinion whether they shed 
their shell more than once a year. Crabs are not of great importance in Wick 
commercially. 

Staxigo is the first village north from Wick ; there are only a few boats for 
crabs and lobsters there. Keissis the next place where crab and lobster fishing 
is carried on, and Ackergill is the next village. Fresvvick is the next to 
Ackergill ; there is no important crab and lobster fishery there, and John- 
o'Groat's is the next place, and is an important fishing station. 



40353. 



32 



Gauge, 



LOBSTERS. 
Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Gauge. 



Huna, John O'Groat's, Saturday, 14th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 
CRABS. Donald Mowat, Duncansby. Has been fishing for 35 years. There are 

plenty of crabs in the neighbourhood. There is no difference in their size 
or number as compared with former years. There are plenty of small 
crabs measuring 5 or 6 inches. Does not take the smallest ones, and has been 
accustomed to put back all under 4 inches. There is no sale for crabs at all in 
the neighbourhood. Would be glad to have a sale for them. Has sent lobsters 
to AYick. Thinks that when crabs are so small as to be counted two for 
one, by the Billingsgate rule, they should be returned to the water. This 
would include all crabs under 5 inches. No close time is necessary as there 
are plenty of crabs. They are caught summer and winter. 

Alexander Mowat. Thirty years a fisherman. Some years crabs are 
plentiful and in others scarce, according to the season. None less than 
5 inches should be taken. Lobsters have fallen off. They are not orer-fished, 
and a close season is unnecessary. None should be taken, whether male or 
female, under 8 inches in length, measuring from the tip of the nose to the 
point of the tail. 

Thomas Dunnet. Five inches should be the gauge for crabs. The take 
depends on the season. More used to be caught 40 or 50 years ago than at the 
present time. There is a scarcity now, but some years more are caught than others. 
Donald Mowat {recalled). The falling off in lobsters is caused by 
their being killed in the winter months. What is caught in the winter cannot 
he had in the spring. The winter lobsters are caught in 16 to 18 fathoms. 
The fishermen begin to fish about 8th April and leave off in July. There are 
10 to 12 boats fishing from Stroma all the year round, except during the 
herring fishing. The herring fishers leave for the herring fishery on July 16th, 
and return on September 6th. The crab and lobster fishing begins in March 
or April, if the weather is good, and continues till July 16th. From July to 

Close time. March the lobsters are not fished. These dates relate to the ground two miles 

on each side of Duncansby. 

There are plenty of fishers in Stroma. They fish for crabs and lobsters all 
the year except in October and November, when they go out for cod. There 
should be a close time for crabs and lobsters from December 1st to the end of 
February. 

Gilbert Laird, Duncansby. Has been fishing here all his life. Crabs 

Decrease. are plentiful, but less so than formerly. Sometimes a good number can be 

caught. The average size is from 5 to 6 inches across the back, sometimes 

Gauge. fhey are smaller. Cannot tell the reason. Would agree to a 5-inch gauge. 

Spawning. Crabs spawn about 1 st April, and cast their shells about May and June. Has 

LOBSTERS, heen fishing for lobsters 15 years. They are fewer than formerly. Thinks the 

scarcity is caused by storms. The "coarse" weather has been worse than 

usual during the last four or five years. The storms have destroyed many 
spawning places. Lobsters are more fished than they were 10 or 12 years ago. 
Some lobsters caught are very small. They range from 4 or 5 to 10 inches. 

Gauge. ^j[ lobsters under 8 inches, and all partans under 5, should be returned. 

John Dunnet, aged 75 years. Has been 50 years a lobster fisher. First 
fished with rings, and has always done so. Saw the first creel about 10 years 
ago. Has had 60 boats fishing along the Pentland Firth between Orkney and 
Caithness, and even in Shetland had five boats in one season, but did not do 
well with them, having only had 150 lobsters in two months. They were large, 

Enemies of. but scarce. In Shetland has found large whelks attached to the lobsters, and 

has thought they destroyed the lobsters by sucking the life out of them. 

Lobsters are fewer now. Eight or nine years ago caught 1,000 to 1,500 

Decrease. in three months, but now only 300 to 400, bringing Is. each, while formerly 

they were 3c?. to 4c/. Smacks used to call for the lobsters and take them to 
Wick. Formerly a vessel beginning on the west coast at Ullapool or Rumore 
and ending at Scrabster would take off 9,000 or 10,000. The smack used to 
pay 3c7. to Jd. each for large lobsters ; now the same lobsters would be Is. to 
Is. 6d. each. The rule of the smack-owners was that all lobsters under 8 inches 



33 

should count two for one. The cause of the decrease is the invention of creels, CRABS, 

which catch the lobsters in winter, so that they cannot be got in spring. If he c , , " 
were a king, he would make an Act of Parliament putting an end to creels 
altogether in the winter, and would have a close time for creels, allowing them LOBSTERS, 
to fish only from March to the 9th July, when the herring fishing begins ; all G 
lobsters of less than 8 inches, and crabs less than 5, should be put back into 
the sea. 

Would allow no creels at all to fish in December, January, and February. Close time. 
Good lobsters might be caught after July 16th, but the fishermen are all then 
gone to the herring fishery. 

Hugh Mackenzie, landlord of John O'Groat's Hotel. Has known the 
place for 10 years. Knows all the fishermen at Huna and Stroma, and Yells. 
There are about 150 small boats from Duncansby Head to Dunnet Head, in- 
cluding Stroma, fishing for crabs and lobsters. Last year lobsters fell off, and ■'Decrease. 
this year they have increased. The fishermen blame the creels which are used 
in winter, for the falling off. The lobsters cannot get out of the creels, and 
they fish day and night all the winter. Rings are used in the summer, from 
March to July. There should be a close time in December, January, and Close time. 
February. The Stroma men depend much upon the winter fishing in these 
months, and it would be unfair to them to have the loss of three months. 
One crew there has caught 41. to 51. worth of lobsters in one week in the 
winter ; and has not been able to get out again to the fishery for a month. 



Thrumster, Saturday, 14th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Andrew Comer, fisherman, Sarclet. Knows the coast of Caithness. There C RAB S 
are 56 boats on the Sarclet estate. None of them go for crabs and lobsters, but 
fish for haddock, cod, &c. Has seen boats coming from Staxigo carrying 
creels. They come in the summer — in May and June. There are plenty of 
crabs and lobsters in the Voes between Wick and Sarclet. Catches partans 
with the clip among the rocks ; uses them as food for himself and family. 
Begins herring fishing at the Lews on the 10th May, and returns on July 6th. 
Then goes to the herring fishery till the 10th September, and after that to the 
haddock fishing. Has seen partans 8 inches across the back ; the smallest 
are 3 inches. Uses limpets for bait for white fish. There are no mussel scalps Bait. 
in the neighbourhood. It would be a very great advantage to establish mussel 
scalps if possible, but the storms would not allow the mussels to remain. The 
fishermen here are also farmers, and only fish for herring or cod, having no 
time for the crab and lobster fishery. It pays better to look after the herrings. Vahieless. 
Twelve years ago Captain Bentley Innes brought some lobster pots from York- 
shire, and gave them to some of the fishermen ; these fishermen got many 
good lobsters in the Voes. Has seen lobsters travelling about in the Voes. 
It is not worth his while to fish for them. The people about here are half 
farmers and half fishermen, and will not attend to the crab and lobster fishery. 
Thinks all crabs under 5 inches and all lobsters under 8 inches should be Gauge. 
returned to the sea. 

Angus Moore, Sarclet. Has been a fisher for 30 years. Has mostly Herring 
fished for haddock, herring, and cod. Never fished for crabs and lobsters. 
Does not think it worth his while. Boats sometimes come from Ackergill. 
Does not know what they catch. Is acquainted with the shore from Noss 
Head to Wick, a distance of 9 miles. Thinks there are plenty of crabs and 
lobsters if the fishing were prosecuted. There are lobsters between Sarclet 
and "Wick. Haddock fishing pays better than lobster fishing. Opposite 
Sarclet the water is deep, from 9 to 20 fathoms. The cliffs are 200 feet high. 
Has never seen the skins or shells of crabs or lobsters thrown up. 

Captain Bentley Innes. Is owner of Sarclet. Has heard the foregoing 
evidence, and corroborates the statement as to the experiment with the lobster 
pots 12 years ago. Knows that crabs and lobsters are in the Voes, but the 

l 2 



34 

Herring fishery fishers are too well oif to prosecute the fishery. They can make more money by 
other means, such as herring, cod, and haddock fishing, Would have no 
objection to the enforcement of a gauge, and agrees that partans under 5 inches 
and all lobsters under 8 inches should be returned to the water. Thinks it 
would be desirable to have a close time for lobsters according to the indi- 
vidual locality. Caithness is a month later than other counties, both with 
harvest and game, and probably also fish. 



LOBSTERS. 
Size of. 



Decrease. 



Gauge. 

Close time. 



Gauge. 
Close time. 



Ackergill, Saturday, 14th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Catherine Morrison. Crabs and lobsters are sent away on Wednesdays 
and Thursdays to Wick to suit the steamers going to Aberdeen. The price has 
not increased. There are two sizes of lobsters, the largest 10 inches, the 
smallest 8 inches ; this is the average size. Thinks that before the railways 
came crabs and lobsters were more plentiful. Remembers large lobsters being 
sold here for 3c?. or Ad. each. 

W. Reid, fish curer, living at Keiss. Lobsters have fallen ofP. There are 
two boats fishing — three men in each boat. There are 30 creels in each boat. 
They begin fishing in February, and leave off in May. The space of ground 
for the fishermen where crabs and lobsters are found is small, and they have 
very nearly ceased fishing for crabs and lobsters. 

James Bain. Crabs are no object to the fishermen here. Would not 
object to a gauge of 8 inches for lobsters. Would have a close time from 
August 1st to February 1st. Goes to the herring fishery when not engaged 
with the lobsters. Sends his lobsters away by steamer. 

James Mowat, fish curer. Agrees with the 5-inch gauge for crabs, and 
an 8-inch gauge for lobsters. Thinks there should be a close time to allow 
the lobsters to multiply. The ground is over-fished. The close time should 
be from the 1st of August to 1st of February. 



Price. 

Decrease. 



The Castle Hotel, Kirkwall, Monday, 16th October 1876. 

Present : 
Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

Robert Brough {examined by Mr. Walpole). A fish-merchant at Kirkwall : 
has been in business between 20 and 30 years. Has been buying lobsters 
all this time from the fishermen and sending them to London and other parts. 
There were steamers 20 or 30 years ago by which the lobsters were sent away. 
They go now by steamer to Aberdeen and thence by rail. His recollection 
does not go back to the period when there were no steamers. When he com- 
menced business, lobsters were Id. to Sd. each, the price now is 14c?. to I8d. 
The price has risen over 100 per cent. Thinks that lobsters are scarcer, and 
that the scarcity, due to over fishing, has led to an increased price. Does not 
think that the increased demand has produced a rise in price. When he 
began business took no lobsters under 9 inches. Two men, 20 to 30 years ago, 
would take 1,200 to 1,400 lobsters in a fishing season. Now they would not get 
above 200 lobsters. 20 or 30 years ago the fishermen used rings, now they 
use both creels and rings. The men fish in the same localities, but the creels 
enable them to fish in deeper water. Believes that there is only one lobster 
now where there were six twenty years ago. Thinks that this scarcity is due to 
over-fishing. The decrease has been gradual. Attributes it to over-fishing and 
fishing at the wrong period of the year. By over-fishing means there are too 
many fishermen. The principal grounds are Westray, Papa Westray, Eday 
(a fine fishing place), San day, North Ronaldsay, Stronsay, Rowsay, Scapa, 



and Ham Sound. The lobsters are pretty universal all round the islands. LOBSTERS. 
Thinks that July, August, September, and October are bad months for fishing 
lobsters. During these months constantly gets soft lobsters. The fishermen 
don't return the soft lobsters ; it would be practicable to return them, and Soft. 
it would be a good thing to make it illegal to buy or sell them. The soft 
lobsters will not live when they are sent away. Is compelled to bay the 
soft lobsters, because others do it. If Parliament made a law that it should 
be illegal to buy soft lobsters there would be no practical difficulty in dis- 
tinguishing between a soft and hard lobster. Thinks even with such a law a 
close season would be necessary. The fishermen would do better in the other 
months of the year. 

Gets berried hens more or less all through the year. Most of them are Berried. 
caught in May and June. Berried hens take the market more readily than 
any others. It would not do to make it illegal to buy and sell berried hens. Is 
aware of the old close season under 9 Geo. II. Never knew or heard of its being 
enforced. That law is a dead letter here. It would be a good thing if it were 
not. The fishermen now want full price for every lobster, even for those under 
9 inches. There are a good many under 9 inches. In most cases they get 
their price. The competition is so keen they can command their own terms. 
Would be in favour of a law enforcing the return of all lobsters under 9 inshes Gauge. 
from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. Thinks that the return of 
these lobsters would make a great difference, but is in favour of a close season 
in addition. 

Would enforce the law of close season and gauge by making it illegal to buy Enforcement 
and sell lobsters in close season and small lobsters. It would be absurd to aw ' 
make a law applying to the fishermen and not to the markets. If there is a 
close season it must be universal and apply to London. Imagines that the 
habits of lobsters are the same everywhere, and that therefore the same laws 
would be applicable everywhere. 

(By Mr. Young). There has been a decrease not only in numbers but in size. Decrease. 
The decrease in size is also attributable to the over-fishing. Thinks the old 
close season, June, July, and August, not so good as the four months he recom- Close time. 
mends. Would have a provision like that in the Salmon Acts against the sale 
of lobsters in close season. There are more boats in the lobster fishery than 
there used to be, and they carry more creels and rings. The boats therefore 
ought to get more lobsters than they used to, instead of fewer. 

Donald Neil (examined by Mr. Young). A fisherman at Kirkwall. His 
experience in the lobster trade extends over 10 years. Lobsters are not so Decrease. 
plentiful as they used to be. They have fallen off a good deal, but xhere are 
more people following them than there used to be. They are less in size as 
well as fewer in number. Formerly they only fished in May and June, now 
they fish throughout the year. There are more boats, men, rings, and creels. 
Thinks that all lobsters under 9 inches over all should be returned. A lobster Gauge. 
of 9 inches is not much. 9 inches is the very lowest size that should be 
fixed for the gauge. Would make it illegal to buy or sell lobsters under 
this size. 

Thinks that there should also be a close season. Thinks that the close Close time. 
season should commence on 1st July, and should last two or three months. 
Believes that four months would not be too long so far as the fishing is con- 
cerned, though the fishermen might object. Has often heard of the old 
Act imposing a close season, but never heard of its being enforced. His 
experience extends over most of the Orkney Islands. There are places 
like North Ronaldshay exposed to the Atlantic, where it is impossible to 
over-fish lobsters. Imagines that the natural habits of lobsters are the same 
everywhere, and that the close season should extend everywhere. Couldn't 
tell how close seasons could be enforced. Thinks the law would be obeyed. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Thinks that there is only one officer of the White 
Herring Board in the Orkney Islands, and that there is no Coastguard. There 
are only three policemen. The law, therefore, ought to be enforced in the 
markets, and the sale must be allowed one week after the close season com- 
mences. Wants a close season for July to September, because the lobsters 
are soft in those months. It would not be sufficient to have a law prohibiting 
the sale of soft lobsters, because it is difficult to distinguish some of them from 
hard ones. 



36 



LOBSTERS. 



for. 



Price. 



Decrease. 



time. 



Spawning. 



Gauge. 



CRABS. 

Valueless. 
LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 

Price. 



Rings. 



Joseph Murrell {examined by Mr. Walpole). Fishcurer, fish-salesman, and 
auctioneer, at Stromness. Has been in the lobster business 26 years. Buys 
from fishermen in the South Isles and West Mainland, The lobsters on the 
east side were larger than those on west side. The west side lobsters were 
25 years ago from 5d. to Id. In March they would be 7d., in May fall to 5d. 
The lobster season then commenced in March and continued to the 16th 
July. This system continued till 1854. In 1854 he began to take 
lobsters in the harvest-time from the middle of August. They went on 
from that time taking them all the year round. In 1854, when the harvest 
fishing began, the price was 6d. The price has risen more rapidly since 
1866. In 1865 the lobsters were about 9d. to 1st May, 6d. afterwards. 
In 1866 the price was the same. In 1875 the lobsters were Is. in September, 
Is. 3d: in November, Is. 6d. in December, 2s. January to March, Is. 6d., 
April to May, and Is. afterwards; Thinks that the price is due to increased 
competition. But there are not so many lobsters in the sea as there 
were. There are 4 to 1 more buyers. There is a locality from Houton 
Head to Stromness and from Stromness Head to Cantick Head where they 
formerly could go out and get 40 to 50 lobsters in anight. They could not now 
get two. Three men run out the whole of their gear on this ground with fully 
40 rings and creels, and only get 36 lobsters. The proper remedy for this is a 
close season. 

The close season should commence on 16th July and end on 1st Decem- 
ber. July, however, practically protects itself as the men are on the 
herrings. Thinks that a close season of this kind would do much to restore 
the fishery. Would make it illegal to fish for, buy, and sell lobsters in these 
months. The spawning season here depends on the weather. In hot weather 
the lobsters spawn earlier. Has found berried lobsters in all seasons of the 
year. Thinks that when the berries get reddish and ripe the lobster should 
be returned. Thinks that there would be no temptation to the fishermen -to 
remove the berries, and that the fishermen would not lose much, as there 
would only be about 10 in a season. It would be impossible to return all 
the berried lobsters. Has seen 70 out of 100 berried. The lobsters are 
generally kept in chests while afloat in the sea. The lobsters in the chests eat 
each other's spawn. 

Would also return all lobsters under 10 inches to the sea. There is a bed 
of small lobsters off Hoy Head. Off Hoy Head, however, not 10 per cent, 
would be below 10 inches. * 

The decrease is not so marked on the Atlantic side of the islands as in the 
Bays. The Rackwick (South of Hoy) was never fished except between March 
and July before last year. The men also took to creels last year, and in one season 
they cleared the ground, and have had this year to go into deep water. Nine years 
ago the nine boats at Rackwick caught 1,250 lobsters each ; last year they only 
caught 450 each. Thinks that the fishery was fished out in one year, but the 
preceding year there was a Banffshire boat on this ground. The year was a 
calm one. 

(By Mr. Young.) Believes that a lobster ground of limited extent may be 
entirely fished out in a few years. Knew all the London smacks that came 
down to buy lobsters. The smacks took from 20,000 to 30,000 lobsters each, 
but they only fished in the proper seasons, and did therefore no injury. 

Would have a close season enforced by advertisement and by the public pro- 
secutor. The 25th Section of the Act of 1868 (Scotch Salmon Fisheries) 
would, mutatis mutandis, be sufficient, but it would be better to enforce the 
law on buyer and seller. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Crabs are caught here, but are not used as merchandise, 
a few are sold in the towns. It wouldn't pay to go and fish for crabs alone. 

Robert Hercus (examined by Mr. Young). A fisherman residing at Kirkwall. 
Has been a fisherman for 30 years. During that time has seen a great deal of 
the Orkney lobster fisheries especially in the North Isles. There are not so 
many lobsters now, not half so many as when he commenced fishing 30 
years ago. They are also smaller. 30 years ago would get 5d. for a lobster. 
Would get now Is. 3c?. to Is. 6d. There are not more fishermen engaged in 
the fishery than there were 30 years ago. But after harvest-time the farmers 
take to it. 

Thirty years ago the boats had no creels, only rings. Now they carry 



37 

both rings and creels, and more of them. If the lobsters were as plentiful as LOBSTERS. 

they were, they ought, with the increased machinery to catch double the number 

of lobsters. 

Thinks that the falling off is due to over-fishing. Is in favour of a close Close time. 

season from the 1st July to the end of October, and would prohibit the sale of 

lobsters during these months. The close season would not restore the fishery 

to what it was, but would make a change for the better. Would also return 

all lobsters under 9 inches. Would take berried hens, except during close Gauge. 

season. 

Agrees generally with the preceding witnesses. There are a few lobsters 

to be found on every ground, but not many now. Catches crabs only when 

fishing for lobsters. They are beginning to go out of condition now (October). 

Crabs are not used for bait. The fishermen use mussels, which they get for 

themselves. Thinks July, August, September, and October would be a suffi- Close time. 

cient close season. The crabs should be as good in May and June as at any 

time. 

{By Mr. Walpole). Fishes nearly the whole of the Atlantic coast. Doesn't go 

far out. The lobster ground extends a good distance out. The water he fishes 

in is 5 to 6 fathoms. There are fewer lobsters than there used to be. Has In deep water. 

been out to 10 fathoms water, but didn't get so many lobsters as inshore. 

There is no reason why they shouldn't go out. Some Banffshire boats came 

down and went out 15 to 18 fathoms, and they were successful. It is not the 

practice of the fishermen to go out so deep. 

John Hercus {examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Kirkwall. Has been 

a fisherman for 15 years. Has fished for lobsters chiefly in the North islands. 

15 years ago used both creels and rings, but fewer of them. Now the fishermen Decrease. 

use about 40 creels and 40 rings, then about 30 and 20 rings. 15 years ago 

used to get about 800 lobsters in a good season (March to July). Now gets 
about 300 lobsters in the same months. Does not get half so many as he used 
to 15 years ago. 

Does not think that there are many more boats on the lobster ground. 
There are not half so many lobsters in the sea as there were 15 years ago. 

Fished 15 years ago in 6 and 7 fathoms water, and fishes in the same 
depth now. Doesn't know whether it would be a good thing to try deeper 
water. 

Believes that a close season would be a good thing. It should commence in Close time. 
July and end in October. The fishermen, as a rule, go on to the herrings in 
July, and stay herring fishing till 6th September. Never fish for lobsters then ; 
but there are some fishermen who fish all through. Doesn't know why these 
men don't go to the herrings. 

Would not think it unfair if he were made to return all small lobsters under Gauge. 
9 inches to the sea. They would grow into big ones if they lived long enough. 
Thinks it would be very well to return the berried hens when the berries Berried liens. 
become reddish. They get a good few of these about June and July. 

Robert Brough {examined by Mr. Young). A fisherman living in 
Kirkwall. Has been a fisherman about 10 years. Agrees that there has been 
a decrease in the number and size of lobsters, and that a close season and Decrease. 
a gauge would be necessary. It would be easy to remove all the berries 
from a berried lobster. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) Thinks it would be impossible to detect removal of 
berries, and it would be absurd to make such a law. Fishes in about 5 fathoms In deep water 
of water. Has never tried deeper water. Thinks it would be a good thing to 
try deeper water, but it takes the fishermen from home, and is lonely. At 
present comes home every day, but if he fished in deeper water would have to 
stop away a week. 

{By Mr. Young.) The true way to enforce a close season would be to prevent Close time. 
the sale of lobsters. 

The men get large crabs here, measuring 5 or 6 inches across the back, but CRABS, 
they only sell them locally. They will not carry. The lobsters have their jym notcarry. 
claws tied and are packed in seaweed. 



38 



Mason's Arms Hotel, Stromness, Monday, 16th October 1876. 



LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 



Creels. 



Close time. 



Gauge. 



Close time. 



Gauge. 



No decrease. 



Close time. 



No decrease. 



Present : 
Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

Samuel Flett {examined by Mr. Young). Lives at Stromness. Has been 
engaged in the crab and lobster fisheries for five or six years. The lobsters 
have fallen off a good deal. Has fish coming in from three different places. 
In Rackwick Bay, Hoy Island, they commenced with the creels last fall ; they 
had only used rings before. This spring they got very few lobsters where the 
creels had been used the previous year. They can fish in deeper water with 
the creels, and begin earlier. The men began fishing with the creels this year 
(1876) in February ; they continued till the 1st June. They then left off till 
about the 1st September, most of them being away at the herring fishery. 
They finished about the 14th October. Would like to see no lobsters fished 
in Rackwick Bay from the 1st July to the 1st January. The fish are not 
strong at that season of the year ; they are not full in the shell. There is a 
place called Birsay, on the west coast of the mainland. The fishermen cannot 
fish there so early as they do at Rackwick. The shore is peculiar. They 
commence at Birsay about the last days of April or 1st of May. Thinks that 
in that place they should fish till the end of July, otherwise they can do nothing. 
Would not fish after 1st August. The fishermen there stop fishing now 
after July. The third place he gets lobsters from is around the small islands 
to the east of Hoy. There are not many lobsters caught there. Four years 
ago some fishermen went there with creels, and got some fine large fish. In 
the following season the lobsters were few and small, and since then many 
have not been got. Takes lobsters under 9 inches ; refused last year at Birsay 
to take lobsters under 8 inches. Would approve of a law enacting a close 
season. This would be good both for the fishermen and for the salesmen. 
The sale of lobsters should be prohibited in close time. Thinks that it would 
not do to insist on return of berried hens. Would rely on a close season, and 
allow the berried hens to be taken in the open months. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Would perhaps require some supervision to enforce the 
law. On reflection, thinks that Birsay and Rackwick Bay must have the same 
close season, and this must commence on the 1st August. It would be unjust to 
the Birsay men to close July. Sends the lobsters to London, Liverpool, and 
Manchester. The price is very fluctuating : it has been very low lately. Thinks 
that an 8-inch gauge is too small, and that a 9-inch gauge is preferable. 

Peter Sinclair (examined by Mr. Walpole). Lives at Stromness. Has been 
a fisherman for 30 years, and fished for lobsters all that time more or less. Most 
of them are got outside in the Atlantic, a few are got inside. 30 years ago 
used to get 800 to 1,200 lobsters a year, according to the season. In those days 
commen<ced fishing about March and ended about the 12th July. There were 
then only three boats from Rackwick, and there are now nine. They don't 
fish the same ground as he does. The boats which fish the same ground as he 
does have also increased, and each boat carries three times the material. Each 
boat now takes from 600 to 800 lobsters a season. 30 years ago three 
boats would have got 1,000 lobsters each, or 3,000. Now nine boats could get 
700 each, or 6,300 lobsters. Believes that the ground produces now as many 
lobsters as it did 30 years ago. 30 years ago fished in 5 fathoms water, 
now fishes up to 18 fathoms. Gets superior fish in that water, which were 
never caught before. Is very well satisfied, except that he thinks that fish 
should be let alone in the spawning season. By the spawning season, means- 
June, July, August, and September. Thinks most of the fishermen round 
this coast will agree to this close season. The Birsay men would be able to 
catch the lobsters in the other months if they choose to try for them, but they 
must work harder. Would approve of returning all lobsters under 9 inches. 

(By Mr. Young.) Has heard of the 9 Geo. II. fixing a close season for 
June, July, August. It has never been observed. Believes there are as many 
lobsters now as there used to be. 

William Stanger (examined by Mr. Young). Lives at Stromness. Has 
been a fisherman for 12 years. Is a partner of previous witness. Agrees with 
his evidence. Has nothing else to say. 



39 

Peter Sinclair [recalled). The fishermen are all agreed as to the necessity LOBSTERS, 
for a close time and a gauge. There are eight or nine boats fishing for lobsters 
now. There were only three, when he began, out of Stromness. There are too 
many boats for the ground, and there are likely to be more. Lobsters are Creels. 
bought now at seasons when they could not be carried before. It would not 
do to prohibit creels. Rings cannot be fished in 20 fathoms water. They Rings. 
catch plenty of crabs, but there is no market for them. The small crabs are 
rarely used for bait. There are plenty of mussels. 



Close time. 
Gauge. 



Burghead, Thursday, 19th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire, 

Thomas Jenkins, fisherman, of Burghead. Has been in business 38 CRABS. 

years. Crab fishing is prosecuted to a very small extent about here. The 

people fish with clips among the rocks. There is only one boat fishing for 
crabs. Gets many partans from 4 to 6 inches in length among the rocks. 
Prices have doubled during the last few years. Lobsters are especially dear. j> r i ce 
Is in favour of a close time in July and August. No crabs should be sold 
under 5^ inches across the back, and no lobsters under 4 inches in the 
barrel. 

John Robb. Has been a fisherman for 60 years. Used to get crabs 20 
years ago. Now it is difficult to see one in a month. Outside, the bottom of Decrease. 
the sea is shelly and sandy. The trawlers have fished out the crabs. Trawlers Trawlers. 
also fish up the spawn of haddock, crabs, and all other sea fish. The fisher- 
men often used to catch crabs on their lines ; now they don't catch one. 
They are much scarcer than they ever have been. 

W. Davidson. Has been a fisher all his life. 40 years ago, when a bov, he 
used to catch many crabs and lobsters ; but does not catch one now for a hundred Decrease. 
formerly. The trawlers have fished out all the crabs. The trawlers come from Trawlers. 
Lossiemouth. The crabs caught by them are sent to the south from Lossie- 
mouth. The trawlers catch them in July, which is their best time. They 
should be forced to put back all crabs under 4 inches over the back. Used to Gauge. 
catch crabs on hooks when fishing for haddock; but catches very few now. 

T. Jenkins [recalled). Cod fish are great enemies to lobsters. Hardly ever LOBSTERS, 
opens a cod without finding young lobsters in the stomach; this is particularly — ■ 

in February and March. Has seen cod throwing up lobsters on the deck of a Enemzes - 
vessel ; as many as five or six lobsters in one cod. These lobsters would be 
three or four inches in length, or even smaller. Cod eat lobsters all the season. 
In the spring, and in January, February, and March, there are many cod 
about. 

Joseph Mackintosh. Endorses the evidence of previous witnesses. 
There should be a close season in July and August, and all lobsters under 4 Close time. 
inches in the barrel should be put back into the water. There are 29 trawlers Gauge. 
at Lossiemouth. The fishery is 7 miles long by 2| miles wide. They be°-in 
fishing in September and fish till February. Trawlers destroy the haddock 
and the young crabs. The crab fishing ground is 6 miles from Lossie Bight to 
Burghead. Few crabs are got at Buckie. The Banff coast to Fraserburgh is a 
good crab coast. The extent of the ground is about 18 miles. 

John Reid. Has been station officer of the Coastguard for the last 11 CRABS. 

years. There is no crab or lobster fishing going on now. Thinks small crabs 

should be put back into the water. Thinks the crabs are nearer to the rocks 
than the trawlers dare come. If there is a new law regulating the crab and 
lobster fisheries it should be confided to the Herring Fishery officers. 

William Main. Has been 20 years a fisherman. When he was a boy Decrease. 
there were many partans about ; now there are few. The cause is the traw- 
liDg. The trawls turn up the ground where the spawn is and destrov it, Trawlers. 
the spawn being buried in the sand. Crabs are also caught by the trawlers' 
Crabs spawn on this ground where the trawlers come. Gets crabs 10 or 12 -' 



40 



CRABS. 

Close time. 



Season for. 
Growth,. 



Decrease. 



Trawlers. 



15 miles out to sea on the haddock lines. There should be a close time for 
crabs in July and August. In these months crabs are in spawn. Does not 
use crabs for bait. Has opened a good many cod, and found either a crab or 
a lobster inside them. This is the chief food of cod. 

Robert Walker. Has been a salmon fisher for 22 years. Has had creels 
set from St. Abb's Head to Holy Island. Has fished at Hartlepool. Crabs are 
in best condition at harvest time ; they spawn in May. They should be 
caught when in proper condition to be eaten. There should be a close time 
when they are spawning. If left in the water the spawn would develop into 
thousands of mature crabs. Thinks that it takes two years for a crab to come 
to maturity. 

John Mackie. Has lived at Burghead for 55 years. Hardly sees any 
crabs now where there used to be plenty. The trawlers began about three 
years ago. Before the trawlers came they used to catch plenty of crabs on the 
lines, now they catch none. The trawlers have banished all sorts of fish off 
the ground. Crabs have two seasons ; one season is in October, this is for 
out-shore crabs. The other season is in June and July, for in-shore crabs. 
He means that then they are full of meat. The outside crabs would be 8 
inches, the inside crabs would be smaller. 



Coastguard House, North Berwick, Friday, 20th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Provost P. Brodie. Has known North Berwick for 40 years. There is a 

Decrease. crab and lobster fishery here. Both the crab and lobster fisheries in North 

Berwick have fallen off about one half within his recollection. Has seen them 
sent off in barrels and boxes 15 years ago. The railway was opened 18 or 20 
years ago ; does not now see the same numbers of barrels and boxes going away 
as he formerly did. Can give no reason for the diminution. It would be 
of great advantage to the town to have the fisheries increased, and would 
like to see this done. The resident population of the place is about 1,000; in 
the summer season there are about 2,000 people in the town. It is a cele- 
brated watering place ; a good resort for invalids. Many visitors come from 
London, and it would be an advantage to have fresh crabs and lobsters for the 
visitors. The visitors from Edinburgh and Glasgow would have fresh crabs and 
lobsters, and this would be an additional attraction to North Berwick. 

James Goodall. Fish merchant. Has been in the trade five years. White 

Decrease. fish, lobsters, and crabs have fallen off one quarter within the last five years. 

Lobsters have not fallen off so much in quantity, but they have become smaller. 
In consequence of this deterioration in size, prices have fallen off. Sends crabs 
and lobsters to Hull and London. Four inches across would be a "full crab." 
Crabs measuring under 3 inches, when measured the long way of the back, 
would go two for one. Sends them away from April to the end of August. 

Close time. There are few to be taken in March. There should be a close time for crabs 

when they are casting their shells, that is, between the end of August and 
the end of November. White crabs are then unsaleable and unfit for food. 

Robert Miller, fisherman. Has fished for 20 years. The mode of fishing 
at North Berwick is by creels, which are baited generally with codfish. Never 
fishes with rings. The fishermen begin to set their creels at the end of March, 
and about the middle of July they bring them ashore, as they cannot get a 
sufficient quantity of crabs to pay. 

When he first began he used to get a creel full of crabs. Now he only 

Decrease, gets 9 to 12 crabs in a creel. Has seen as many as 35 crabs in a creel, halves 

and wholes together. A large whole crab would be 4 inches across the back, 
a half crab is 3 inches across the back. Anything below 4 inches goes two 






41 

for one. The cause of the falling off is the use of small crabs as bait for the CEABS. 
lines. All the fishers use lines from. April to June. 

A 6-inch crab (in length of shell) would be counted a whole crab ; an extra 
big one would be 8£ inches, and the proper size for a half crab would be 5 
inches. All "partans " below 5 inches should go back into the sea. It would Gmige. 
be an advantage to put back two crabs now worth 3c?. each in order to get two 
crabs worth 6d. each the next season. Crabs begin to spawn in April. Rarely 
sees crabs in April and May. So far as he and his crew are concerned, any Berried. 
crabs full of spawn are put back. There is no market for these crabs. Would 
like to have a law enjoining that these crabs should be put back. Thinks that 
by taking spawning crabs he would be robbing himself and his fellow fisher- 
men of thousands. Would like a close season from the latter end of August 
till November. Crabs cast their shells in the middle of August. Lobsters, Shedding shells. 
like crabs, have fallen off very much at North Berwick, the cause being the LOBSTERS. 
catching of females in spawn and of small ones. The merchants' gauge at — '■ 

present is 4 inches across the barrel. Lobsters under this measurement D ecrease - 
should be thrown back into the water. They are called half lobsters. auge. 

Has seen a hen lobster put into a box, and in about three or four weeks after Spawning. 
a great many young ones were born, and they clustered round the mother like 
chickens round a hen. Has seen a lobster on the top of a hole, and young 
lobsters, 1 or \\ inches long, within sight of the holes. The mother was 
evidently looking after her young. A hen lobster when spawning makes a 
nest like a swallow, building it with mud and sand with her horns; and spawns 
in the nest. A lobster found in a nest is always full of spawn. It would be 
a good plan to throw all berried hens into the sea, and he would answer for 
himself and his crew that this should be done. Lobsters over A\ inches long 
bring Is. each. Is engaged by Mr. Goodall to fish. Small lobsters should 
be put back into the sea. 

James Goodall (recalled). People will not buy the half lobsters : they 
should be put back into the sea. This would be a benefit to his business, as 
people do not care about them. He should like to see it enacted that female 
spawning lobsters be put back during all the season for two or three years to 
come, with a view to reinstate the breed. In North Berwick lobsters are never jsoziing. 
" plugged," and crabs are put into hot water, not into cold. 

Provost Brodie (recalled). Thinks it would be a good thing to enforce Berried. 
the putting back of lobsters in spawn in localities where this is desirable. 

James Foster, fisherman. The North Berwick fishery ground begins at CRABS. 
Canty Bay and extends to the islands of Lamb and Fidra, and is one mile 
wide ; altogether it is about four miles in extent, and in this there are set, 
during summer, about 1,000 creels. The depth is about 4 to 8 fathoms. 
In the winter crabs and lobsters go into deep water. " Partan " fishing should Close time. 
be closed from August till November. He would agree to put back all 
spawning hen lobsters for at least two years. Lobsters spawn all the year round. 

James Gullan. Has fished for crabs and lobsters for 20 years. The 
fishing has fallen off both in the size and number of the fish. He and his 
comrade used 20 creels from April to the end of September. Partans then go Migration. 
into deep water. He commences fishing for lobsters on October 1st, and goes 
on to April. Thinks the ground is fished out. Agrees that there should be a 
close time during the time when crabs are casting their shells from August to Close time. 
November. A great many partans are used for bait for haddock and whiting. 
The nearest place for getting mussels is 23 miles off. Crabs are only used on Used for bait. 
every tenth hook. If a law affecting all alike were made, that no small 
" partans " should be used for bait, he would not object to it, and he should 
think the other fishermen would agree to it. 

All half lobsters, two for one, should be put back into the water. The 
merchants would rather be without them. The ground outside is all rocky 
hard ground, with patches of sand. The fishermen must go a mile from 
the land before they get clear of the rocks. 

There are plenty of cray-fish on the ground ; but the fishermen never go CRAY-PISH. 

after them, as there is no sale. Has seen tons of these fish thrown away. 

Has thrown them back for the last 20 years. Calls them soft-ground Valiie. 
lobsters. They average 3| inches in the barrel, Would be glad to find a 
market for them. They are not falling off. 



42 



Enforcement of 



John Morris, station officer of the Coastguard. Has been here two 
years. There are 45 boats from North Berwick : 22 of them are crab and 
lobster boats : the rest are engaged in the white-fish trade. Has never been 
instructed by his commanding officers to carry out the Act of George II. 
enforcing a close time for female lobsters. He and his officers are in a position 
to carry out any law that may be made. 



Boats. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 



Gauge. 



Portree Hotel, Portree, Friday, 20th October 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

LOBSTERS. Donald Macdonald, steamboat agent, Portree [examined by Mr. Young}. 

12 years supercargo in the steamship " Clydesdale." Carried a good many fish. 
Carried more lobsters — a great many more — at the commencement of his 
experience than latterly. The lobsters came chiefly from Tarbert in Harris. 
But they came also from Stornoway, and Lochmaddy. They got lobsters 
from Lochmaddy all the year round. The fishermen fished all the year round, 
and there was no close time. Never saw anything but creels used. Believes 
there are more boats employed in the fishery now than when he first knew it. 
They could, if lobsters were equally plentiful, get more than they used to do, 
but they don't give the lobsters time to grow, they are " nipped in the bud," 
and don't have fair play. The lobsters are put into half tea chests, and sent 
away by steamer. Has seen 30 or 40 lobster chests in a single trip, when 
they went to Tarbert and Lochmaddy. The lobsters now have fallen off so 
much in size that twice the number are put in a box that there used to be. 
Thinks that there should be a close season, commencing 1st May and ending 
31st August, because lobsters are out of condition and watery in those months. 
No lobsters under 4^ inches in the barrel ought to be sold. The only people 
this would interfere with are the fishermen who fish on the Atlantic coast of 
the Long Island, who fish chiefly in the summer months. The small lobsters 
won't sell in the Scotch markets. The lobsters come chiefly from the west coast 
of the Lews. They had ponds for them there, but the ponds did not succeed. 
The lobsters fell off in condition when they were confined in ponds. His ship 
had no crabs consigned to her, but had oysters from Skye, Harris, and the 
Lews. Never heard of a lobster ground which was entirely fished out. A 
great many lobsters come from Tobermory and from the west side of all the 
Hebrides. The best fish and fishermen are on the Atlantic shore of all these 

Weather. islands. The coast is more stormy; the lobsters cannot be over-fished ; they 

have time to grow and get stronger and firmer. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) He ceased to be supercargo in the " Clydesdale "in July. 
The Skye Railway was not built when he was first connected with the " Clydes- 
dale." "it was made in 1870, and the lobsters have been considerably diverted 
from the steamship to the railway. But this does not account for the falling 

Decrease. off. There are fewer caught. Believes that there are fewer lobsters caught in 

Harris than there were 12 years ago, at any rate that there are fewer boxes. 

Price. The lobsters being smaller more are packed in each box. The price is three 

times as high as it was 12 years ago. If May to August were closed the men 
on the Atlantic coast of the Long Island would only be able to fish occasion- 
ally in frosty weather. Thinks that lobsters can be caught as easily in frosty 
weather in winter, as in summer. But the west coast is a stormy place. 
There are now as many lobsters under the gauge as there are above it. 12 
years ago nearly all the lobsters were above the gauge. Believes that May, 
June, and July are the chief spawning months, but is not sure of this. Has 
heard the fishermen say that the ground was over-fished, because they caught 
so many small lobsters. Two weeks ago lobsters were 95. 6d. a dozen in Skye, 
wholesale, they were last week 8s., but they did not pay at either of those 
prices. 

John Robertson (examined by Mr. Walpole). Fish merchant, Portree. 
Commenced buying lobsters on his own account in 1862, but bought them 



43 

previously for his father. The supply comes from the north-west and west LOBSTERS, 
coast of Skye. The lobsters are brought over in carts and sent by rail to 
London, Liverpool, and Manchester. In 1862 lobsters were from 6s. to 20s. 
a dozen. The lobsters are cheap in September because they are plentiful ; in 
February they rise in price to 22s. ; and 35s. a dozen has been paid for them. Season for. 
This is the highest price. The season commences in September and ends in 
May, when the spring work begins, the men being half farmers, half fishermen. 
The lobsters are not so plentiful as they were in 1862, but there is more 
difference in the size than in the number. The lobsters are measured by the 
barrel gauge, and lobsters below 4^ inches, or wanting a claw, count two for 
one. There are a larger proportion of lobsters under gauge than there used to 
be. About 20 per cent, of the lobsters were under gauge in 1862, and about 
50 per cent, are so now. Thinks that this falling off in size is due to over- 
fishing. Believes so because there are more boats on the lobsters than there 
used to be, and the boats carry more creels. As a remedy would make it 
illegal to take any lobsters below a certain size. Thinks that the gauge might Gauge. 
be fixed at 4 inches in the barrel. The lobsters this year are more plentiful 
than last year, but smaller. Would also recommend a close time. In Skye close time. 
no lobsters ought to be fished after April till September. There are not many 
lobsters taken in those months now, in Skye, but a few are taken. There 
would be no difficulty in fixing one gauge for the whole country. The lobsters 
are sold in Liverpool and Manchester by the weight, in London by the chest. 
They never talk of the size. Would have, however, a uniform gauge over all 
the country, for the fishermen and the first buyer. 

(By Mr. Young.) The close.season, if there is a close season, must be universal, 
and there must be no lobsters in the market in these months. Has had no 
lobsters from the Lews or Harris since he commenced business. The lobsters 
from these islands go away by the direct steamer to Glasgow. In 1865 he 
went to buy lobsters at Tarbert in Harris. They were fine large lobsters, he 
never saw finer except from Rona. The island of Rona had not been fished for 
some years. When men the commenced fishing at that island the lobsters were 
remarkable for size, only four dozen and nine went in a box which ordinarily 
contains seven to nine dozen. After the fishing the lobsters became very 
scarce. The place was so small that it was almost entirely fished out. It is 
therefore advisable to take some precautions against over-fishing. Is aware of 
9 Geo. II. c. 33, s. 4, instituting a close season for lobsters. Most of the fisher- 
men are aware of it. It was once enforced or threatened to be enforced in the 
Lews. Till lately there was no need of this Act as the fishermen didn't fish 
there. Since the Skye Railway was made they have begun to do so. Thinks 
the diminution in the size of lobsters is a striking proof of over-fishing. The 
fishermen do not give the lobsters time to grow. The most effectual way of 
enforcing a close season and gauge would be through the markets. Had a 
Skye lobster in 1863, weighing / lb- 9 ozs. It came from the west coast of 
Skye. It was 29 inches long. About the same time he had another from 
Rona of the same size. The last consignment he had was on the 1/th 
October 18/6 ; he had 84 lobsters weighing 120 lbs. They came from 
Kilmaluaig. Believes that the fishermen on the west coast of Skye fish in 12 In deep water. 
fathoms. The farther they go from the shore the larger the lobsters they get. 
There is a place called Stein, in Loch Bay, on the west coast of Skye, where 
the lobsters are always small. A 4-inch barrel gauge would close the fishing 
at that place. There is, however, a place near, where they get large lobsters. 
Kilmaluaig, Gendale, Ruan Dunan, and Rona, produce the best lobsters in 
Skye. Stein produces the smallest. There are lobsters in Raasay. 

William Stewart (examined by Mr. Young). Resides at Portree; is a 
fisherman. Buys lobsters and sends them to Billingsgate Market. The 
lobsters are not nearly so plentiful nor so large as they were 20 years ago. Decrease. 
There are as many boats fishing now as there were when he first remembers 
it. The boats carry more creels than they did formerly. The lobsters have Creels. 
not risen in price. 18 years ago paid 25s. 6d. a dozen for them, and could 
buy them now for 7s. Gd. In February they would be from 12s. to 15s. 
Thinks that the diminution in size is due to over-fishing. In some parts of 
the island, the fishing goes on throughout the year. Thinks that there ought Close time. 
to be a close time in May, June, July, and August. During these months 
it should be illegal to buy or sell any lobsters. The lobsters then are of little 



u 



LOBSTERS. 



mwning. 



value because they will not cany to market. It is waste to take them in those 
months. Doesn't think that it would do to put back small lobsters. The 
fishermen take everything, small and large, and would not obey such a law. 
It could, however, be done by enforcing the law in the markets, if there was 
a man for the purpose in every town where lobsters are sold. Has caught 
lobsters from the Lews and from Harris. There are a great many lobsters 
caught in these islands. Can form no opinion when lobsters spawn, bat 
thinks they spawn in March and April. Thinks that the small Stein lobsters 
Mr. Robertson spoke of are a distinct species. 



CRABS. 



Decrease. 



Decreased size. 



Soft. 



LOBSTERS. 

Close time. 
Young. 



Dunbar, Saturday, 21st October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

Provost James Brand. Has been provost for 28 years. Dunbar has been, 
and is now, a great crab and lobster fishing station. Boats have now to go 
further out at this season of the year than formerly, because the crabs have 
gone out into deeper water. There are not many lobsters in comparison with 
crabs. There are two parties of fishers, of different opinions, at Dunbar. 
Would advise legislation for the protection of crabs and lobsters, which would 
benefit the fishermen and the public as well. Thinks there should be a close 
time for crabs and lobsters. Generally many men here fish all the year round, 
therefore a close time would be opposed. It would not be more profitable to 
put back soft crabs or small crabs. 

Lobsters are not caught in any quantity. The bottom is hard soil, and 
there is much sand. The ground extends from St. Abb's Head to the Bass, a 
distance of 23 or 24 miles, and 2| to 3 miles out to sea. The fish chiefly go 
to the London market. Legislation would have greater effect and be more 
valuable if it could be made to suit the local circumstances of Dunbar. There 
is a bar at the mouth of the harbour formed of the debris of rocks fallen from 
the cliffs at Castle Rocks. It has been increasing during the last 10 years. 
Formerly there was no bar. This bar is dangerous to fishers, and they have 
to stay out till the half flood before they can get in. Very often this bar 
causes the boats to lose the train. It should be removed, as it is dangerous to 
life and property, and deteriorates the value of fish. Men have to go up the 
Forth for safety, and land cargo there on account of not having sufficient water 
at low tide. The stones should be removed to enable the current to carry off 
the sand and keep the harbour open. Went to Mr. Stevenson, C.E., and Mr. 
Primrose, and asked them to assist in the work. Would subscribe 100Z. to 
improve the fishery. If the bar were removed the fishery would increase. 
Would wish these facts brought before the Board of Trade, and Sir H. 
Ferguson Davie and Lord Elcho, M.P.'s for East Lothian. 

John Sharp, Springfield Villa, Dunbar. Agrees with the evidence of 
Provost Brand, especially that it would greatly conduce to the benefit of the 
public in general, and Dunbar in particular, if the bar were made passable. 

John Smith. Has been a fisher for 30 years. There are as many crabs now 
as ever brought ashore, but they are smaller in size. The merchants take small 
and large together. Sometimes four crabs count as one. A crab like this 
would measure 3 to 3| inches across the back. They can always get a market 
for them. Thinks these small crabs should be put back to grow. Begins to 
find soft crabs in August and up to October ; these are crabs that have cast their 
shell, and whose new shell has not yet hardened. Finds soft crabs below the 
dabs. The shell of a soft crab breaks. Most of these crabs are sold for human 
food. In the months of December and January soft crabs would become hard. 
Fishers put them on board both at sea and in harbour. They should be 
preserved. 

There should be a close time for lobsters in June, July, and August. Hen 
lobsters sit and spawn on their nests like hens. Has heard that young 
lobsters go under the tail of their mother. They quicken in June, July, and 
August. Has seen spawn alive. The merchants have a gauge of 4£ inches. 



45 

Instead of merchants taking soft crabs for Is. per dozen they should give CRABS, 
the fishers 3s. per dozen to make up for the return of soft crabs. They now 
give Is. a dozen for hard and soft crabs mixed. 

James Robertson. Has been a fisherman for 20 years. Crabs have not got No decrease. 
any scarcer. When he first went to sea there were four boats ; none of them fished. 
This was at Skateraw. Came to Dunbar about 1860, then there were 30 or 40 
boats ; there is about the same number now. In the summer each boat carries 
from 100 to 140 creels. They begin to set the creels in March, and take them 
up in July. A few boats go to the Skerries, only three or four. They fish all the 
year round. They do not use crabs for bait, and do not break up the small ones 
for bait. The merchants in the inland towns, such as Leeds, Sheffield, Notting- 
ham, &c, desire the fishers to send smaller crabs, not large ones. The reason is 
that people can afford 3d. each better than 6d. apiece for crabs. . In the general 
run of the season, in the spring, small crabs are full of meat from January 
to July. Thinks a gauge would not answer because it would lead to disputes, 
and time would be wasted in measuring the crabs. A good haul would be 30 
to 40 dozen ; seven to ten kits holding four dozen each. Three years ago there 
was an excellent season : no diminution in the number of fish. Soft crabs are of Soft. 
no use, and ought to be put back. Sometimes they are saleable in the market. 

Charles Filleul. Has been a fish curer for 15 years. Since he has been Decreased size. 
here there are not so many crabs as there were 15 years ago. There might be 
as many in number, but not so many in bulk. The size has decreased to a 
great extent. The cause is over-fishing. Formerly there used to be over 70 
creels per boat. Now there are 150. If there is to be a close time it should be Close time. 
from August to October, which would save the soft crabs and allow the smaller 
ones to grow. Any gauge would be awkward when the men were in a hurry, 
but thinks crabs are far too small. Has heard the expression of " Dunbar 
cast." If crabs were larger he could afford to give more for them. Has always 
bought little and big crabs together, but gets more money for the big ones. 
The gauge might be a hardship for a time, but would eventually benefit both 
dealers and fishers. Could not say what this gauge should be. 

Lobsters have diminished. Dunbar used to be a famous place for lobsters LOBSTERS 

25 years ago. It is not so now, the ground having been over-fished. A whole 

lobster is 4\ inches in the barrel. A half lobster is 4 inches in the barrel. 
Gets about equal numbers of both. It would be a benefit in the long run to Q auge 
return the half lobsters to the sea. Understands there is an Act to make a close r „ 

time from 1st May to 1st August. The town clerk posts this Act. Never 

heard of any prosecution under it. Most undoubtedly soft crabs should be Soft. 
put back. Says this most advisedly. Fishmongers in town often write to 
complain of the soft crabs, because they lose their customers by selling inferior 
articles. 

Alexander Combie. Is 70 years of age, Has fished for crabs for the last 
50 years. When he was a boy there were three for every one now, and they Decrease. 
were also larger. They have gradually degenerated. Every year there would be 
six boats; now there are 30 or 40 boats. The railway came in when he was a 
boy. Formerly the fishermen did not send away the crabs, but only the claws, 
which sold in town at 3c?. a dozen. Now they send crabs, claws and all, to 
London. Thinks that for the sake of future generations soft crabs should be Soft. 
put back when they are taken. The merchants settle the gauge between them- 
selves and the fishermen. Has heard of the Act of George II. giving a close LOBSTERS 

time for lobsters in May, June, July, and August, but the Act has never been 

carried out. The ground is the same as it used to be. The crab fishers fish in 

16 to 18 fathoms of water in spring. All little lobsters should be put back, say Gauge. 

under 4 inches in the barrel. This was the former gauge for them. 

W. Hutchinson. Has been in Dunbar 18 years, and has been a fish mer- CRABS 

chant for 15 years. Thinks crabs and lobsters are falling off. If the same 

number of creels were used now as were used 18 years ago, the fishermen could - Decrease ' 
not get so many fish. Gets most crabs in heavy weather, when the boats can 
just go out. The crabs are drowned, and the swell washes them up. Soft crabs Soft. 
should be put back all the year round, and this would ultimately do the fisher- 
men good. The boats often come in a hurry to catch the train, and mistakes 
might be made in sorting the crabs to the half or quarter of an inch. There should 
be a close time in July and August to the middle of September. This close Close time. 
time would do no harm, because the boats could not go out at that time, and 



46 



LOBSTERS. 

Season for. 
Spawning. 
Gauge. 



'Enforcement of 
law. 



CRABS. 
Increased. 

Close time. 

Gauge. 

Soft. 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 



it would not pay to do so. Gets too many lobsters in May, and gets a very 
small price for them. Only the principal fishmongers ask for berried hens ; 
the berries are used for sauce for other fish. Would be beneficial to everybody to 
return all lobsters to the sea under 4\ inches in the barrel ; a lobster measuring 
4 inches to-day is worth 6d. ; each time it casts its shell it grows half an inch, 
so that very soon it would be worth double the money. Has a shell which 
has been cast to prove this. A lobster grows half an inch in the barrel when 
it has shed its shell once. 

John Doughty, Station Officer of Coastguard. Has been here 18 months 
and has never had any orders to carry out regulations for lobster fishing. The Act 
could not be carried out with the present number of men. There are four on the 
establishment here. There is no fishery officer here. Help would be required 
to carry out any law on the subject. There are about 170 boats on the 
register ; about 13 of these are crabbers now, but the number fluctuates. 

W. Robertson. Has known Dunbar 37 years. Has been 37 years in the 
trade. Crabs have increased in number, because the fishery has been more 
prosecuted than formerly. Formerly there were three boats, now sometimes 
there are forty ; the dealers get as many crabs as ever. The small crabs should 
be returned to the water. If there is any close time it should be from October 
to January. All crabs under 5 inches should be put back into the water. 

A law should be made that soft crabs should not even be brought ashore ; 
they should be thrown over into (he water at once from the creels. The mer- 
chants will not take these soft crabs ; they are broken up by the fisherman for 
bait, or thrown dead into the harbour, the fishermen having broken their 
shells with their thumbs. A good crab would be from 6| to 8 inches across 
the back: [two of this size were produced, picked out of five or six dozen]. 
From October to January, if a thousand crabs were caught, five hundred of them 
would be soft and would be destroyed. It is most important to make a law 
to prohibit the destruction of soft crabs. A whole lobster is 4^ inches in 
the barrel. All under 4 inches in the barrel should be put back into the 
water. 



The Royal Hotel, Stornoway, Saturday, 21st October 1876. 

Present : 
Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

Murdo Morrison (examined by Mr. Young). Lives in the island of 

No decrease. Bernera. Has been dealing in lobsters for 30 years. Believes that there are 
as many lobsters caught now as there were 30 years ago. There are more 
boats than there were, and they fish with creels. Rings have not been used 

Creels for about 20 years. The creels enable the fishermen to fish in deeper water than 

the rings. Thirty years ago each boat used to carry 24 to 30 rings ; they now 
carry from 20 to 30 creels. There are as many lobsters caught as there used 
to be. But the creels are more deadly than the rings, and he believes the 
lobsters are not so plentiful. Fishes all through the year except June and 
July. Lobsters won't carry in those months. The lobsters are chiefly sent 

Storeponds. to London. Sends off 6,000 or 7,000 lobsters annually. Has a store pond 
at Bernera where he keeps the lobsters for the market. There are about 
5,000 lobsters in the pond. They are sent to market from time to time as 
convenient. Is in favour of a close season in June and July. The close 
season should be universal throughout the country. Would prohibit taking, 
buying, and selling lobsters in these two months. Would object to a longer 
close season than June and July. Lobsters 4h, inches in the barrel count 
as full fish. Those below this or without a claw count two for one. Is in 
favour of all lobsters under 8 inches from nose to tail being returned to the 
sea. At present buys lobsters under this size but none under 7 inches. Knows 
that a good many lobsters are caught at Tarbert, but believes that the Bernera 
ground is better. The chief lobster fishing in the Lews is on the Atlantic 
coast. That is a very exposed coast, and cannot be fished in bad weather. 
Wishes to add that at all times of the year he gets lobsters, both poor and fat, 

Spawning. both from his pond and from the sea. They are spawning and casting their 



47 

shells at every season of the year. Gets many berried hens. These some- LOBSTERS, 
times are very valuable in the market. 15 fathoms is the deepest water Berried. 
fished. Lobsters are larger in the deep water, but this depends on the season in deep water. 
of the year. Believes that about 12,000 lobsters are exported from Bernera 
annually. 

George Macaulay (examined by Mr. Walpole). A tenant and constable 
of Creer, island of Bernera. Has been a fisherman for lobsters for 40 years. 
There are about 20 boats, or more, fishing at Bernera. 40 years ago there 
were fewer. 40 years ago used creels and now rings. His ground is towards 
the Atlantic side of Bernera. The ground in some places reaches 6 miles out 
seawards, and extends along the whole west coast of the Lews. 40 years ago 
the fishing season commenced in April and ended in October. The lobsters 
were then taken to London in smacks, and the smacks could not rely on good 
weather after October. The fishing season now commences on the 1st August Season for. 
and ends in the following June. The lobsters are not fished in June and July, 
because the men cannot get enough to make it worth their while, and the buyers 
won't buy because the lobsters won't stand the carriage. The smacks could 
carry them in June and July because they had wells, and the lobsters could 
be kept alive in the wells. On an average, catches more lobsters now than he 
did 40 years ago. From the 1st August to the 20th October 1876 has caught 
800 lobsters. Some boats have caught 1,000. 40 years ago could have taken 
from 700 to 1,000 lobsters a season. Has this year had 9d. for each full fish. 
40 years ago the price was from 3d. to 6d. The first English company gave 4^d., 
the last English company gave 7d. each for lobsters. The first English company 
came more than 40 years ago, the last about 20 years ago. Is earning more 
money in lobster fishing than he used to ; but spends more time at it. Fishes 
in deeper water than he did 40 years ago. Seldom fishes now where he used 
to then. His creels are safer in the deeper water. There are not so many 
lobsters in the shallow water as there were 40 years ago. Thinks the lobsters 
are about the same size as they were 40 years ago. Out of 9,100 lobsters, on 
an average about one third are under 4| inches in the barrel. It would not 
pay to follow the lobsters if all under that gauge would be returned. Would Gauge. 
be willing to return all lobsters under 8 inches from tip of snout to tip of tail. 
15 to 20 per cent, of them would be under this size. 

Never fishes in June or July now. These months are practically a close Close time. 
season. The coast is very stormy, and the fishermen would be stopped eight 
to nine days a month throughout the year. Sells his lobsters to Mr. Morrison. 
Mr. Morrison puts them in his stock ponds. 

Thinks that the lobsters are going out to the deep water more than they used, In deep water. 
and that this is the case with all fish. When he began to fish for ling and cod he 
fished them three times nearer the shore than he does now. Has to go now 
about 20 miles to make the best fishing. There are no herrings on the west 
coast now ; but they used to come there. 

(By Mr. Young.) There are many crabs about Bernera, but they are too far CRABS, 
from the market to be kept alive. Crabs are not used for bait ; mussels are. Win n ~^~ carYV 

Murdo Morrison (recalled, examined by Mr. Walpole). His store-pond is 
about a mile in circumference. It averages about 4 or 5 fathoms deep ; 
doesn't ebb dry; fresh salt-water comes in from the sea with' each tide through Ponds. 
the porous wall which he has built. Gets his store lobsters out of the pond 
with iron rings and creels. There are about 6,000 lobsters in it. There are 
fish in it, cod and ling, and other fish, and he also throws fish into it. 
Throws in about a hundredweight of fish a week. Sees dead lobsters in the 
pond, but doesn't think they are starved. Thinks that with the natural food 
and the supply he gives them they have food enough. 

Puts berried lobsters in the pond ; believes they breed in the pond. The Spawning. 
smallest lobster he ever put into the pond was about 6 inches, and has never 
seen any smaller in it. Pays rent for the pond to Sir James Matheson, as 
owning the foreshores. 

^ Mr. Macaulay and witness were deputed by the other Bernera fishermen to 
give evidence on the subject. 



40353. M 



48 



LOBSTERS. 

Decreased size. 



Boats. 
Close time. 

Gauge. 



Creels. 

Kept in ponds. 



Price. 



Prohibition of 
ponds. 






No decrease. 



Seasonfor. 



Royal Hotel, Stornoway, Monday, 23rd October 1876. 

Present : 

Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young, Esquires. 

Kenneth Smith (examimed by Mr. Young). Is a fish merchant in 
Stornoway. Has had 24 years' experience in the lobster trade. Speaks of the 
Lews only as regards lobsters. Obtains as many lobsters as formerly ; but 
they are not so large, with the exception of those in Broad Bay, where they are 
not fished in the summer months. The Atlantic coast is more exposed 
than the east coast, but there are sheltered bays in it. The lobsters are more 
plentiful on the Atlantic than on the east coast. They have a wider range. The 
fishermen do not fish in May, June, July, and August on the Minch or eastern 
side of the Lews. They fish on the Atlantic side. Has heard of the Act of 
Parliament imposing a close season ; but it has never been observed. There are 
more boats fishing than there were, and each boat has more creels. The boats 
ought, therefore, to get more than they used to do ; and as they do not, 
lobsters cannot be so plentiful as they were. Is in favour of a close season 
in May, June, July, and August, which must be enforced in the markets. 
Is in favour of a gauge, 4| inches in the barrel. Anything under this should 
be returned to the sea. The fishermen fished with rings and creels when he 
had first experience of the fishery, and they fish with both rings and creels 
now. The creels fish in deeper water. There is a practice here of keeping 
lobsters in ponds till they are wanted for the market. Does not approve of 
this practice. The lobsters in these ponds are inferior to those obtained in the 
sea. They don't get sufficient nourishment. Tried a pond himself for one 
year, fully three quarters of a mile long by half a mile broad. It was an arm 
of the sea. Had 7,000 lobsters in the pond. The London agents complained 
of the quality of the lobsters from this pond and from other ponds in the 
neighbourhood. The lobsters in such a pond would eat each other and each 
other's spawn. Got 1,500 fewer lobsters out of the pond than he put into it. 
In consequence he gave up the pond after one year's trial. Has shipped, on 
an average, 8,000 , lobsters a year from Stornoway. Believes that lobsters 
spawn all the year round, but especially in the summer months, when they 
cast their shells, and are in a weak state. Thinks the pond system so preju- 
dicial that it should be prohibited. The lobsters, after being a month or two 
in the pond, are unfit for human food. London is the chief market, but a few 
boxes are sent to Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham. The price of 
lobsters, during his experience, has risen from 6s. a dozen to from 7s. to 20s., 
according to the season of the year. 

(By Mr. Walpole.) Proposes legislation to make it illegal to keep lobsters in 
a pond. The lobsters may be kept for a week or for a fortnight without injury. 
If there was a close season for four months this legislation would not be so 
necessary. He would do away with the ponds, however, because they are injurious. 
Thinks that, if the practice of keeping lobsters in ponds is proved injurious, 
Parliament is entitled to put a stop to it. Proposes that a clause should be 
inserted in an Act of Parliament making it illegal to have any pond in which 
lobsters could be kept. 

Archibald Munro (examined by Mr. Walpole). Manager at Stornoway for 
Mr. Maclachlan of Glasgow, who is extensively engaged in the lobster trade. 
Has been five years in Mr. Maclachlan's employment, and is a native of 
Stornoway. Engages boats to fish for them and purchases lobsters from other 
fisherman fishing on their own account. There are sometimes three or four 
boats engaged, and from 15 to 20 boats from which he buys. Some of these 
boats fish on the west side of the Lews near the Butt, and others in Broad Bay, 
north of the peninsula, near which Stornoway stands. Thinks that there is 
no decrease in the number of lobsters in either place, and the lobsters are as 
large as they used to be. Has no falling off to complain of. For the last four 
years has on an average sent off 700 dozen a year from Stornoway. They are 
sent by the "Clansman" and "Clydesdale" to Glasgow, and thence by railway 
to London. The fishing season commences about 1st September. Com- 
mences buying soon after that date. There are very few lobsters taken here 
after February. The fisherman do not prosecute the fishery after that time 
The weather is broken up after this time, and the lobsters are less plentiful 






49 

They are habitually in the deep holes. The fisherman do not, on this portion of LOBSTERS, 
the coast, resume fishing till the following September, but in deep water lobsters 
are fished all the year round, and they are stored in ponds till the weather is 
suitable for carrying them. Is in the habit of taking all lobsters over 4| Gauge. 
inches in the barrel ; under that size they count two for one. The very small 
ones, 2 to 3 inches long, are rejected. These are very numerous in certain calm 
localities near the shore. Is in favour of returning all lobsters under 4^ inches 
in the barrel. Is in favour of a close season for lobsters. It should com- Close time. 
mence on 1st May and terminate on 30th September. Is in favour of inclu- 
ding September. The close season must apply to the sellers as well as the 
takers. It must therefore be universal. Thinks, however, it would be Enforcement of 
possible to enforce a close season locally. There are no Coastguard here, and law. 
only one White Herring officer, who is stationed here. There are also five 
officers connected with the Custom House. Thinks it would be practicable to 
enforce a local close season. The Bernera men fish all the year round. The 
lobsters which they take in the summer months are placed in ponds and kept. Kept in ponds. 
Considers this practice prejudicial. The fish do not get sufficient food. They 
are artificially fed in these ponds. Believes that there are two of these ponds, 
one belonging to Mr. Morrison, one to Mr. MacLeod. There are about 7,000 
lobsters in the pond at Bernera: Has bought lobsters from the pond, and 
found that they did not stand the carriage, but died. The ponds pay because 
the lobsters are bought at a very eheap rate in the summer months. If the 
summer months were closed there would be no fish to put into the ponds, and 
the ponds would be closed as a matter of course. Thinks, however, it would 
be necessary to supplement the close season with legislation prohibiting the 
fish being kept in ponds. Gave up pond lobsters because they wouldn't carry. 
They are now sent direct to market by the owner of the pond. 

Does not deal in crabs 5 they don't pay to carry. He sends away 8,000 Supply of. 
lobsters, Mr. Smith 8,000, Mr. Morrison 7,000, and other dealers 8,000. There 
are fully 30,000 lobsters go away annually from the Lews. There are more 
than 40,000 lobsters caught annually in the Lews.- 

John McSween (examined by Mr. Young). Is a fisherman in Stornoway; 
Has fished for lobsters for 15 years. Gets as many now as he got 15 years ago. No decrease. 
They are as good and as large. The fishermen use about the same number of 
creels as they used to. They fish on both sides of Broad Bay. There are about Boats. 
15 boats fishing there. 15 years ago there were only four or five boats. The 
15 boats get three times as many lobsters as the five boats got 15 years ago. 
Fishes in from 9 to 10 fathoms water, at high water. Commences fishing 1st Season for. 
October and ends 31st March. Lobsters 15 years ago were 8s. per dozen. 
They are now from 10s. to 20s., according to the season. Thinks that lobsters 
spawn in April. Would have a close season commencing 1st May and ending close time. 
30th September. Lobsters under 4| inches in the barrel now count two for 
one. These should be returned. They get very few small lobsters on the east 
coast. In a dozen lobsters they get two or three under 4| inches in the barrel. Gauge. 
Is in favour of keeping such lobsters. Would put back all below 2 or 3 inches 
in the barrel, which would be of no use to him or anybody else. 

John Macdonald (examined by Mr. Walpole). Fisherman of Stornoway. 
Has heard Mr, MacSween's evidence, and agrees with him. Has been fishing for jy decrease. 
lobsters eight or nine years. There are as many lobsters as there were, and 
as large. Is in favour of a close season commencing 1st April and ending 30th Close time. 
September. Is in favour of returning small lobsters to the sea. Gets three or 
four lobsters in every 12 under 4| inches in the barrel. Wouldn't put back Gauge. 
lobsters under 4 inches in the barrel. It would be a very great reduction to 
throw back all under 9 inches in length. 

Angus McLeod (examined by Mr. Young). Has been for 12 years a 
fisherman in Stornoway. Fishes in Stornoway Bay.' Does not get more Decrease 
than half as many lobsters as he caught 12 years ago. They are about the same 
size that they used to be. There are 30 creels in each boat. There are two 
hands in each boat. 12 years ago there were four hands, and they used 60 creels. 
12 years ago lobsters were 9s. a dozen, the year after 7s. ; they are now 10s. The Price. 
fishermen begin to fish in the latter end of September, and they leave off about Close time. 
the 1st February. After that the lobsters are scarce, and they don't fish for them. 
Is in favour of a close season for lobsters. It should commence on the 1st 
April and end in September. They do not get any lobsters in these months. 

M 2 



50 



LOBSTERS. 

Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Valueless. 
LOBSTERS. 

Season for. 



Spawning.' 



The lobsters are generally large, but there are sometimes four or five in a dozen 
under 4| inches in the barrel. Would put back all lobsters under 4 inches. They 
get very few of them under that size. The water in the Bay of Stornoway is 
very shallow. Outside the bay they fish in 10 fathoms water. Never saw any 
ponds for keeping lobsters. There are some on the west side of the island. 
They take a good many crabs, but there is no sale for them. They are large 
crabs. They would on an average measure 6 to 8 inches. 

{By Mr. Walpole.) Never fishes on the west side of the island. Was fishing on 
the Shiant Isles 10 years ago. Was fishing for lobsters. They are fine lobsters 
but scarce. The lobsters get very scarce in February. They are most numerous 
in October. They get less every month after October. The rocks about here 
do not extend very far out to sea. There are very few lobsters about here. 
Fished in Broad Bay one year, but was too late. Does not go there because 
there are too many boats at it. There is no other Stornoway boat in Storno- 
way Bay. A stranger from Peterhead came here a fortnight ago. The 
stranger is a bigger boat and goes further out to sea. Always finds some 
spawn lobsters, even in the winter. There are four or five in a dozen. Does 
not think he caught 40 dozen lobsters last year. During a portion of the 
year he is not lobster fishing, but works as labourer as well as fisherman. Is 
also a pensioner from the Navy. 



Newhaven, near Edinburgh, Monday, 23rd October 1876. 



CRABS. 

Decreased size. 
Close time. 



Decrease. 



Creels. 



Soft. 

Gauge 
Close time. 



Decrease. 



Netsfor. 



Decrease. 



Guage. 



Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

James Wilson. Has fished for crabs 30 years. There are just about as 
many now as ever, but the average size is diminished. They are mostly caught in 
April, May, and June. The close time should be July, August, and September, 
The largest crab would be about 5i inches across the back. 

James Flucker. Has fished for crabs 60 years. There are fewer crabs, 
'because there are so many catchers at work. Formerly he used to take ten or 
twelve dozen in a day, now he catches about half this number. There are very 
few lobsters about Newhaven ; but crabs of the best quality are caught there. 
No creels are used, only nets. These are not baited; they are set in a line with 
corks at the top and stones at the bottom ; they stand up like a hedge. The 
mesh is from 2J to 3 inches, and about 4 feet in height. Each net is 50 fathoms 
long. About 20 boats fish for crabs from April to June. 

A few old men fish from June to August. All soft crabs should be returned 
to the water without injury. Sometimes crabs are so soft that they cannot be 
lifted out of the net ; the crabs get so entangled in the net that it takes a long 
time to get them out. A gauge would not act at Newhaven, because the crabs 
get so tangled in the net. A full crab is 8 inches, the smallest is about 3 inches. 
The months of April, May, June, and July should be open months for crab 
fishing. 

William Watson. Fifty years ago crabs used to be more plentiful than now. 
There are very many more catchers. Formerly there were three or four only, now 
there are 15 or 16. Before the railway came the crabs were only sold in Edinburgh. 
Now tinmen can sell any quantity. Nets for catching crabs have been used all 
his time. The ground for fishing the crabs is from Musselburgh up to Queens- 
ferry, about nine or ten miles in length, and all along the shore. The nets are 
hauled into the boats and small crabs are thrown away. He will not give any 
opinion about the gauge. Crabs are never used here for bait, as there are 
plenty of mussels. 

John Liston. Has been fishing crabs for 25 years. They are less in 
number because there are so many fishers. Creels will not act in this district, 
the water is too shallow. The bottom is composed of hard rock and there 
is not much sand. Is in the habit of throwing over all little crabs because 
they are no use for sale or bait ; he heaves them over alive if possible. The 
smallest crab caught should be> 34 inches. There are three men fishing in 
each boat. There are not many lobsters about Newhaven, it is not worth while 






51 

troubling for them. It is a great deal of trouble for the fishermen to pick oil*-. CRABS, 
the crabs which have been entangled in the nets. It has sometimes taken him 
the whole day to pick out the small crabs from his nets. 

Mrs. Annie Flucker. Has been a dealer in crabs for many years. When 
she was a girl recollects that 17 dozen crabs were caught in the nets and re- 
mained in the water two days ; this was in the month of April. Crabs begin in 
April and go on to August. After August they become white and are no good &oft. 
till April again. Last year she got crabs 8 inches across. The smallest crabs 
are o inches, they are of no use, the men put them back into the water in order 
that they should grow to maturity. A 4^-inch crab is a good crab. The fish- 
mongers require two crabs for one, according to the claws. If a crab wants a claw 
the fisherman has to give an extra crab to make up for it. About Anstruther 
the small crabs are called poults. If any lobsters are caught at all they are 
large. Crabs have become much dearer. When she was a girl she paid 10c/. Price of 
a dozen, now she pays 3s. 6d. a dozen. More crabs are caught in Dunbar than 
here. Three years ago saw 17 dozen of small crabs sent to market in a herring 
barrel. She crabs have small claws and large shells. He crabs have very large 
claws and small shells. All crabs below 3$ inches should be returned to the Gauge. 
water. 

Mrs. Smith, fishwoman. Agrees with Mrs. Flucker. The smallest crabs 
should measure 3 inches from the eye to tail or 5 inches along the back. A 
3 inch crab is very good to eat ; crabs this size are worth 2s. a dozen or 2c?. each. 
The small crabs are called cavies ; if a crab wants a claw the fish merchants 
require two for one. Crabs begin to get soft about the end of August. Soft. 
Thinks they spawn in September. Has known the nets catch from Saturday to Spawning. 
Monday 10, 12, to 17 dozen. This is a good fishing. The fishing depends 
very much on the weather. A swell in the sea makes the crabs crawl. 

Mrs. Mayne, of the Peacock Inn, Newhaven. Buys crabs and lobsters for 
the hotel. Both crabs and lobsters are getting very scarce, and require a close Decrease. 
time. When the oysters come in the crabs go out. The crabs are best in 
harvest time. There should be no fishing from August to April. It is a wicked close time. 
thing to bring on shore small crabs. They are only given to children to play 
with. All crabs under 5 inches should be put back. The white crabs with Q auge% 
transparent shells, if boiled, are found to be all_water. They are unseasonable 
and should be put back. 

A crab is called a partan here. The red and green crabs are called cavies. 
They are not partans. 

Mrs. Carnie, dealer in crabs and lobsters many years. At certain times of 
the year the little crabs are better than the big ones, because they have filled up 
their shells. 5 inches is just little enough for a crab. The little ones should be Gauge. 
put back and be left to grow. Has seen barrels full of small crabs in the 
Edinburgh market. Thinks that all soft crabs should be put back into the Soft. 
water alive, and that all crabs under 5 inches should be put back at all times 
of the year. 

The test by weight will not act, because it cannot be ascertained what crabs 
weigh until they are boiled. Crabs have doubled their price these last three ■ Prtce - 
years because they are scarce, and have been fished out. Has seen rock codlings Enemies of. 
with their stomach full of crabs. 



The Tarbert Hotel, Tarbert, Harris, Monday, 
23rd October 1876. 

Present : 
Spencer Walpole, Esquire. 

Norman MacLeod, junr. A general dealer and fisherman at Tarbert. 
Has been in business 17 years. Has been dealing 8 years in lobsters. Buys 
from the fishermen, and sends them away by the " Dunara Castle " and 
" Clydesdale " steamships to Liverpool, London, Birmingham, &c. Sends 
away 6,000 to 7,000 a year. Begins buying in September or October, and 



52 



LOBSTERS. 



Supply of. 



Decrease. 



Rings. 



Close time 
observed. 






Close time. 



Gauge. 



Decrease. 



goes on buying till the 1st May. There are six other dealers at Tarbert buying 
lobsters. His business is bigger than the others. The six other dealers are 
sending away a good many, and it is estimated that 40,000 lobsters are sent 
annually from Tarbert. Two of the dealers send the lobsters away throughout 
the year, observing no close time at all. 

The principal lobster grounds in the neighbourhood are off the Island of 
Scarpa, but lobsters also come from the East and West Lochs. The Harris 
fishermen, too, go both to Skye and the Lews to fish for lobsters, but they 
bring them to Tarbert to sell. There are some 44 boats fishing in East Loch 
Tarbert, for lobsters. 30 of these are from Scalpa alone. Can recollect the 
time when there was no fishing for lobsters in East Loch Tarbert. There are 
about 16 boats in West Loch Tarbert; nine of these come from Scarpa. 
The 16 boats on the West Loch catch more than the 44 on the east side. 

Mr. Maclachlan, of Glasgow, was the first man who started the fishing for 
lobsters in East Loch Tarbert. He sent a smack down about 22 years ago. 
The men fished for him in the winter season and spring. The fishery was very 
successful. There were not so many boats — not a fourth part so many — as there 
are now. They fished with creels. The few boats started at that time caught 
as many lobsters as the 44 boats catch now. Thinks, therefore, indeed is sure, 
that the lobsters are falling off in numbers in East Loch Tarbert. There is too 
much fishing. The lobsters are also falling off in size. They haven't time 
to come to maturity. Thinks the fishing gets worse every year. The proof 
of this is that the fishermen have to leave the Harris coast for the Lews, Skye, 
and North and South Uist. 

West Loch Tarbert, was fished before the East Loch fishing commenced. The 
lobsters were sold to London smacks. The fishery in West Loch Tarbert is also 
falling off. It used to be fished with rings, but it wouldn't pay to fish with 
rings now. Scarpa is the best place, but it is also falling off. The fishermen 
there only fish from December to May, and never fish the rest of the year. 
Scarpa belongs to Mr. Scott. He has only 16 tenants, and they have made a 
mutual arrangement among themselves only to fish these months. The arrange- 
ment is kept. The coast is too wild for a stranger to fish there. It is only, 
however, on the coasts of the island, which is a small one, that the arrange- 
ment is kept. All the surrounding mainland is hard fished. If it were not for 
this, Scarpa would show no falling off. The Scarpa men generally get some 
good weather for fishing in February, March, and April, and they can fish when 
the wind is off the land. During the rest of the year some of the Scarpa men 
go away to the herrings, and others are preparing potatoes and peats. This 
Scarpa arrangement has been going on for some time. The Scarpa men consider 
that they can earn more money, and do better, by confining their own fishing 
to the few months when the fish are at the highest price. 

Is in favour of a six months' close season. Would commence fishing at the 
end of November, and end at the beginning of May. This is only five months, 
but it is long enough. It is no use fishing in September and October, because 
the market in those months is always choked with Norwegian lobsters. Thinks 
that a law of close season could be carried out. Would himself inform against 
an offender. 

Some of the lobsters caught are very small lobsters ; those under 4| inches in 
the barrel count two for one. Would be in favour of returning all these small 
lobsters to the sea. Thinks such a rule would be for the benefit of the 
fishermen. Thinks that if a close season were made as proposed, and a gauge 
instituted, the fishery would recover. The lobsters in Uist are fished all the 
year round ; can't say how the fisheries there are doing. 

Angus MacLeod, partner with Norman MacLeod. Agrees that lobsters are 
decreasing, and concurs in the recommendations of the previous witness both as 
to close season and gauge. 

The"Dunara" steamship comes once a week till the New Year. From 
January to March it conies once in ten days. The " Clydesdale " also comes 
once a fortnight all through the winter. 



53 
Tarbert Hotel, Tarbert, Harris, Tuesday, 24th October 1876. 

Present : 
Spencer Walpole, Esquire. 

William Macqueed, for 25 years buyer for Mr. Maclachlan, of Glasgow. LOBSTERS. 
Lobsters, 25 years ago, were 85., 10s., and 12s. a dozen. The season in those 
days began in November and ended in May. The price of lobsters has since Price 
risen to 28s. a dozen, and averages from 15s. to 20s. The fishermen are fishing 
for them now all the year round. Begins buying on 1st January, and ends 
on 1st May. During the rest of the year the lobsters are sent away by the 
fishermen on their own account. Pays away about 1,600/. a year for lobsters. 
Buys the lobsters from fishermen both in the East and West Loch. About . 
20 years ago the Irish boats came ; they ceased to come about 10 years ago. Creels. 
The Irish first introduced the creels. The supply of lobsters is not so 
great as it was, and they are not so heavy. One dozen lobsters 20 years ago 
would weigh as heavy as two or three dozen now. Thinks the decrease is due 
to the fishermen catching them large and small, and to their catching them 
when the fish are breeding. Is in favour of a close season in May, June, July, 
and August. Is in favour of returning all lobsters under 8 inches to the Gauge. 
sea. 

There are 10 times as many boats as there used to be, but they do not earn 
such good wages as they used. The Scarpa Island men are the most expe- 
rienced fishermen in the whole country, and if others keep clear of their ground 
they won't begin fishing till November or December. They can't keep the 
strangers off the ground. 

Roderick McKay. Has been fishing for lobsters since he was a boy, 30 
or 40 years ago ; fished at Scarpa. When he began fishing was employed by a 
London company. Used to commence on the 1st May, and go on till the Smacks. 
end of August. The lobsters were sent away in welled smacks, and so lived in 
hot weather. The weather during the winter months was too rough for the 
smacks, and the fishermen could not fish in the winter with hoops. Went on for 
the London company for six or seven seasons ; the company then failed. Soon 
after that, began fishing for Mr. Maclachlan, of Glasgow, who commenced buy- 
ing 25 or 26 years ago. For Mr. Maclachlan the fishermen fished in the winter 
months from November to May. Mr. Maclachlan sent them away in boxes by steamers. 
steamer. Went on for Mr. Maclachlan for 20 years, and during the last three 
or four years has been sending them himself by steamer in boxes. Sends his own 
take, and buys from other fishermen. Begins sending in September and goes on 
till May. There are only a few fishermen fishing lobsters in the summer time. Hot weather. 
Sends lobsters away himself in summer time. Sends them to London and Man- 
chester. Many die. Sometimes they all die. This is a great waste, and 
ought to be stopped. Would like to see it stopped. 

There are not so many lobsters in any place as there were 40 years ago. If Decrease. 
they had had creels at that time they could have got three times as many as 
they do now. The lobsters are also smaller. The London company would 
not take any lobster under 8 inches for a half, or 9 inches for a whole one. 

Is in favour of a close season commencing on the 12th May, and would close time. 
resume fishing on the 1st September. Would throw back all lobsters under 
8 inches. Gauge. 

The Scarpa men stop fishing in the summer months. But they can't stop 
other men coming and fishing the neighbouring grounds. The Scarpa men 
make more money by the lobsters than any other. Lobsters are more plentiful 
at Scarpa than at any other place near here. 

David Macdonald. Has been fishing for lobsters for two years ; fishes Weather. 
off Scarpa. The Scarpa men begin fishing in November, and stop at the 
beginning of May. The coast of Scarpa is so rough that they keep other men 
off it, but the strangers come and fish from the mainland. The coast is very 
rough, but the fishermen watch for fine weather. In north-east and south- 
east winds they can always fish. The Scarpa men are all against fishing in 
summer and harvest time, and he agrees with them. 

Malcolm Kare. Has been fishing for 46 years for lobsters and all kinds % Q . 
of fish in the West Loch. There were about 13 boats 46 years ago in the 
West Loch. Does not know how many are there now. Gave up fishing 



54 



LOBSTERS. 



Close time. 
Spawning. 



Gauge. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 
Gauge. 



Ponds. 



12 years ago. There were 30 times more lobsters when he began fishing 46 
years ago than there were when he left off 12 years ago. Attributes decrease to 
summer fishing. The fishing now commences in October and ends 1st May. 
Some boats, about 20, go on all through the year. The fishing ought to begin 
not sooner than October, and close at the end of April. Has been shovelling 
lobster-spawn overboard found in herring nets in September. Fished 46 years 
ago for the London company. They fished in the summer months then. That 
was the first commencement of the fishery here. At that time the lobsters 
were so numerous that they could be picked up dry on the shore. The London 
company threw away every lobster under 9 inches. Is in favour of the same 
rule now. 

Ewen Macdonald. Lives at Tarbert. Has been a fisherman for 14 
years. Fishes about Loch Tarbert. Begins fishing about the end of October, 
and goes on to the end of April. There are five or six boats fishing afterwards 
in the West Loch all through the summer. There are not half so many 
lobsters as there were 14 years ago. There are about the same number of 
boats that there were 14 years ago. Lobsters 14 years ago were 12s. to 14s. a 
dozen. They are now about 10s., but they will get dearer in the winter 
months. Is in favour of a close season commencing 1st May and ending 31st 
October. Thinks the fishermen would agree to this. Is in favour of returning 
all lobsters under 8 inches. 

Donald Munro. Fishes with Mr. Macdonald. Has heard his evidence 
and agrees with it. 

Roderick McKay (recalled). Is in favour of prohibiting lobsters being 
kept in ponds in summer months. These ponds encourage the fishermen to 
fish in the summer, when the lobsters are so light that they are not worth fishing 
for. There is a pond here near Clure belonging to Donald MacLeod, Junior. 



Salen, Mull, Tuesday, 24th October i876. 



Present 



Decrease. 



Creels. 



Close time. 



Gauge. 



Ponds. 



Archibald Young, Esquire. 

Duncan Campbell, residing at Salen. Is in business with his father, 
David Campbell, fish merchant, Salen. Has had 1 years experience in the 
lobster trade. Lobsters have fallen off both in number and size since he was 
first in the business. There are fewer boats and men now engaged in the 
lobster fisheries than there were formerly. The prices in London are not 
equal now to what they were. Creels have been used as far back as he 
remembers. Never saw rings used. Thinks that the decrease in the number 
and in the average size of lobsters has been principally caused by over- fishing. 
There should be a close time and a gauge combined to counteract the effects 
of this overfishing. These will be the most effectual remedies. The close time 
should be from 1st June to 1st September, and the gauge should be 8 inches 
in total length, or 4 inches in the barrel. Both the close time and the gauge 
should be enforced in the public markets under a penalty. The penalty should 
be against taking, buying, or selling during the close months, and against 
taking, buying, or selling any lobster under the prescribed gauge. Has heard 
the fishermen discussing the question of a gauge and a close time. 

Does not recommend the use of artificial ponds for storing and keeping 
lobsters; his father, Mr. D. Campbell, who has had great experience as a lobster 
fisher, once had a large boat which was decked over, and into which the water 
flowed. This he used as a sort of lobster preserve, and in it he kept and stored 
lobsters. The lobsters were fed, but the experiment proved a failure. The 
lobsters got weak and watery and out of condition, and were unfit for the 
market. A close time extending over June and July might possibly interfere 
with the fisheries on the west and south coasts of Mull, which are very much ex- 
posed; these fisheries are most easily prosecuted in summer. But there are times 
even in winter and spring, especially in frosty weather, when the fishermen can 
go on with their fishing on these coasts. Lobsters are often packed in tea- 



55 



boxes. There are from six to seven dozen in a tea-box. A good many of them CRABS. 

are lobsters which count two for one, either from being under 4\ inches in the 

barrel or from wanting a claw. There are plenty of crabs of a good marketable 

size caught in the lobster creels around Mull ; but they arc too far from a mar- Will not carry. 

ket, and people hereabout won't eat them. They are more delicate than 

lobsters. They won't keep good for much more than 24 hours. 



Cockburnspath, Cove, Berwickshire, Tuesday, 24tli October 

1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

William Wattey, station officer at Redheugh. Along the coast in the Cove 
district there is crab and lobster fishing. There are 21 fishing boats at Cove, Boats. 
of which 16 are engaged in fishing for crabs and lobsters, crabs being prin- 
cipally sought after. The fish are sent to Edinburgh, London, and Manchester. 
Creels are used, and not nets, in the fishing. Each boat has from 80 to 100 
creels, and the ground extends from Cove to St. Abb's Head. A good many 
soft crabs are taken. Crabs are taken as small as three inches. Most of these 
are cast overboard. A few are retained for bait. The price has increased. 

Thomas Fairburn. Has fished for 20 years here. The crab fishing should close iim 
be closed from May to September. The fishing has fallen off about one third. 
A "full " crab would be 8 or 9 inches across the back. Crabs are not used 
for bait. Crabs of 5 inches and under go two for one in selling to the 
merchants. Soft crabs are put back into the water. Lobsters have diminished. 
The bottom is rocky. The fishermen begin fishing with creels on 1st October 
and leave off 31st July. 



Been 



Coldingham Shore, Tuesday, 24th October 1876. 

Present : 
Frank Buckland, Esquire. 

William Wilson. Has fished for crabs for 28 years out from Coldingham. 
The bottom is mostly all sand, and 30 to 35 fathoms deep. The ground 
extends for two square miles. Crabs this year have not been so plentiful as some 
years, but sometimes they have been scarcer. Has fished for crabs from September 
to June for 14 years. Ten boats from Coldingham with 36 men are engaged 
in crab fishing. The population is 200. They fish with creels which are 
placed 20 fathoms apart. The boats carry 730 altogether, or about 80 creels each. 
The deep water fishing lasts from September to March. A few boats put in a 
small number of creels in the shallow water in the end of March, but the 
shallow water fishing generally lasts from April to end of May. The largest 
number of crabs he ever saw in a creel was 63, and that was in 1865 ; the 
largest number this year has been 40, counting large and small. The largest 
was 10 inches across the back, and the smallest three inches. Within the last 
few days many of the crabs caught have been small and soft. 

Soft crabs are mostly caught in September, October, November, and Soft 
December. These are generally put overboard, — some into the sea, and some 
into the harbour. As the season advances and the crabs get harder, many 
of them are sent to the market. The markets the fishermen send to are 
Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham, and sometimes London. Complaints 
have been made of late about soft crabs. 

Out of one boat's catch lately of 10 barrels of crabs 6^ barrels only were 
good. Is strongly of opinion that all the white crabs should be returned to 
the water. Can tell white crabs by the claws being transparent, and these 



56 



CRABS. 



Soft. 



Used for bait. 



Gauge. 



time. 



Spawning. 
LOBSTERS. 



CRABS. 

Enemies of. 

LOBSTERS. 

No decrease. 
Gauge. 

CRABS. 

Soft- 
Decrease. 

Gauge. 
Close time. 



should be returned to the water with as little injury as possible. By killing 
these crabs large numbers of useless crabs are destroyed that would presently 
be valuable. Has to pay for the carriage of crabs. Gets from 20s. to 22s. a 
barrel for good fish ; but if a barrel contains many white crabs the merchant 
reduces the price. There should be a positive law prohibiting the destruction 
of white crabs either by sending them to market or using them for bait. Very 
few white crabs are used for bait in Coldingham. Mussels and limpets are 
got for bait from Boston Deeps. The small crabs should be returned to the 
water; none under 4 inches should be retained. Big crabs bring more money 
per barrel than small crabs, but in the spring the small ones are the sweetest. 
A "full crab" would be 9| to 10 inches; sometimes crabs of 7 inches 
are called full crabs. The fishermen here market all crabs themselves ; they 
have no agents. The salesmen do not complain of the small size of the crabs. 
No crab under 4 inches should be taken. A large crab is called a "pod," a 
small one a " partan." The fishermen generally put back all crabs under 
4 inches of their own accord, and do not put them in the barrels. 

There should be no close time for good crabs at all, but there should be a 
close time for white crabs, and small crabs under 4 inches, all the year round. 
Seldom gets any female crabs at all, because when they commence to spawn 
they are sanded up. At the end of October the crabs commence to sand up 
in about 30 fathoms, and remain there until the spring, when they hatch the 
young from the eggs. The smallest crabs he ever saw were in May and June. 
These were Zoea. The spawn is beginning to come on to the tail now 
(October). As to lobsters sometimes as many as one to the creel are caught, 
sometimes in 40 creels there are only 17 lobsters. Seasons vary. Lobsters 
under \\ inches in the barrel are worth little, for they are sold by the weight. 
The average size of lobsters is 6 inches ; the merchants' gauge used to be 
4| inches in the barrel. Off the two miles square which are fished outside 
Coldingham, between 2,000 and 3,000 barrels of crabs have been caught and 
sent to the market every year for 10 years. When the crabs go to the deep 
water, the fishermen follow them. The enemies of the crabs are skate, codling, 
whiting, and haddocks. 

There are still plenty of crabs ; about as many are caught now as were taken 
10 years ago. 

Never fishes for crabs with nets. 

John Ray. Has been fishing for lobsters for 55 years, winter and summer. 
There are as many lobsters now as there were years ago, but there are fewer 
crabs. Would throw back all lobsters under 4| inches in the barrel. Berried 
hens are found all the year round, and are the most valuable. Lobsters are all 
sent away alive from here, and tied, not plugged. All white and small crabs 
should be put back to the water. 

John Purvis, fish curer. Has been 20 years in Coldingham. Crabs have 
fallen off about a third. Cannot tell the cause. Agrees that white and small 
crabs should be returned to the water, but does not approve of a close time. 
Considers a 5-inch crab a full one. 

The gauge should be not less than 4 inches. 

William Wilson {recalled). Is well acquainted with the neighbouring 
village of Eyemouth. Has met with and consulted with several fishermen of 
that place. They are all of the same opinion as the Coldingham fishermen. 
They do not think there is any need of a close time at Eyemouth for good 
crabs, as they are still plentiful, but they much wish to have a law to prevent 
the destruction of small and white crabs, either sending them to market or for 
any other purpose. The reasons they have for objecting to a close time are 
that there are a great many old men who are unfit to go to other fisheries. 
Boys also may have a widowed mother, and, it may be, a few younger members 
of a family dependent on them for their living. A close time for three or six 
months in the year would throw many of these sort of people out of work and 
tend to burden the rates ; another reason is that a close time would have a 
tendency to drive all the able-bodied men out of the trade of crab fishing ; 
should the fishery be closed for three or six months as some would wish, all 
that were able would have to take themselves to other fisheries that could not 
be dropped when the crab fisheries opened. For this reason crab fishery 
would be left entirely to old men and boys that are not fit to prosecute it to 
the extent that it should be, and the markets would be worse supplied. There 



57 

arc hundreds of miles along the coast that are swarming with crabs where CRABS. 

none yet have ever heen taken ; these districts could be fished at the rate of a 

thousand barrels to the square mile yearly, that is in places where there is a 
sandy bottom and the water is from 30 to 40 fathoms deep. 

Has watched the evidence all the way along in the papers, and sees that 
many wish for a close time in the months when they themselves are not in the 
habit of fishing. On the 16th October he marked the backs of a few crabs Migration. 
with his initials, "W. W.," and put them back inshore. On the 27th of 
November these crabs were caught again two miles seaward, having passed 
over eight fleets of creels. One crab was caught in the 9th, and another in 
the 10th fleet. The creels are let down to the bottom by a rope; the rope is Creels. 
attached to a long stout rope which is buoyed on the surface of the water by 
corks ; this rope is called a messenger. Eighty creels are fastened to one 
messenger. The creels are placed 20 fathoms apart, so that the messenger 
would be 3,200 yards long or nearly two miles. When the men fish these creels 
the boat travels along the messenger, and the creels are drawn on board over 
the bow to be examined, the crabs taken out, and the creels returned over the 
stern of the boat rebaited. At Coldingham there are 10 crab boats, of these seven 
set 80 creels, and two set 40, making 640 creels in all. At Dunbar each creel 
has its own messenger. 

More crabs are caught here in winter than at any other places round about. Season for. 

The dead crabs in the harbour are those which are found dead when packing 
the barrels. These are soft crabs, and the hard ones crack them when packed Soft. 
in the barrels. 

Robert Thorburn. Has been a fisherman at Coldingham for 60 years. 
Before the railway was opened 18 years ago, the fishermen never fished for Railways. 
crabs, as they were then of no use — there was no market for them. Since 
they commenced to fish for crabs the inshore fishing has diminished. Does Decrease. 
not know anything about the deep-sea fishing for crabs, having never fished 
far from the shore. Agrees that white and small crabs should be put back. Soft. 
Always puts back small lobsters under 3^ inches in the barrel, They are not jopmtfp 

used as bait for crabs. Small lobsters have been put back ever since he ERS. 

knew. Crabs are not cannibals, and will not enter creels baited with broken 
crabs. If a lobster entered a creel, crabs would not enter it. A white crab is Bait. 
unfit for human food. Cuttle fish are capital bait for crabs. 

It takes from November to February for crabs to " fill up." 



Oban, Wednesday, 25th October 1876. 

Present : 
Archibald Young, Esquire. 

Alexander Carmichael, fisherman, residing in Oban. Has been a CRABS. 

fisherman for more than 30 years, and is well acquainted with the crab and 

lobster fisheries about the islands of Mull and Kerrera. There are plenty of 

crabs in this neighbourhood, especially about the island of Kerrera. They are 

fine large crabs, fit for the market ; but the only market there is for them is 

Oban, and that only at certain seasons. They are in the best condition in Season for. 

October, but good also in August and September. Would have these months 

for the fishing season, and would observe the rest of the year as a close time. 

There should also be a gauge for crabs. All crabs under 5 inches should be Gauge. 

returned to the water. The small crabs are not used for bait hereabouts ; but 

they are used for that purpose on the west coast of Mull. The men don't 

fish specially for crabs, but great numbers of crabs are taken in the lobster creels 

— so many that the crabs are falling off both in number and size. 

Lobsters are to be found all round the coasts of Mull except from Salen to Loch LOBSTERS. 

Don ; but they have decreased since he was first a fisherman, both in number Deere 

and size. Would have a close time for lobsters, as in the old Act of George the 
Second, and would also have a gauge. Every lobster under 4 inches in the barrel Gauge. 
should be returned to the sea. The prices both of crabs and lobsters have 



58 



Boats. 

CRABS. 

Decrease. 

Close time. 
Gauge. 



Sea son for. 



LOBSTERS. 
Decrease. 



Close time. 
Gauge. 



doubled since he first remembers the fisheries. Has never seen rings used for 
fishing, only creels. The shores in this neighbourhood are chiefly rocky. 
There are not as many boats and men engaged in the fisheries as formerly. It 
would not pay them, lobsters and crabs are getting so scarce. The best lobster 
fisheries in Mull are on the south and west coasts. 

Dugald Mackenzie, fisherman, residing in Oban. Has been a fisherman 
for about 30 years. When he began fishing, crabs were twice as plentiful as at 
present. Thinks they have become comparatively scarce owing to the great 
number taken in the lobster creels. The men never return any of the crabs taken, 
but keep large and small. There are fewer boats and men now than formerly, 
but each boat carries more creels. One boat sometimes carries 60 creels! 
There should be a close time for crabs. They should only be fished during 
the months of July, August, September, and October, and the rest of the year 
should be observed as close time. There should be a gauge, and all crabs 
under 5 inches should be returned to the water. The gauge and close time 
should be enforced in the public markets under a penalty. Thinks that if a 
gauge were enacted the lobster fishermen would put back the small crabs taken 
in their creels. Crabs are dearer now than formerly. Has seen Is. a dozen only 
paid for smallish crabs ; now Is. apiece is sometimes given in Oban for large 
crabs. Crabs are now in about the best condition. The best places in this 
neighbourhood for crabs and lobsters are Scarba, Jura, Eisdale, Kerrera, and 
the south and west coasts of Mull. The south and west coasts of Mull can 
only be fished to advantage in summer time, they are so exposed to the 
Atlantic gales. Lobsters are not now half as plentiful as when he was first a 
fisherman, and fewer boats and men are engaged in the lobster fisheries. 
There is only one third of the number of boats, but each boat now carries 
more creels than formerly. Only one smack now comes here for lobsters, 
while long ago there used to be three or four. The falling off in the fisheries 
accounts for this. Would have a close time for lobsters in June, July, and 
August, to be enforced in the public market, combined with a gauge of 4 inches 
in the barrel to be enforced in. the same way. 



Mish Nish Hotel, Tobermory, Mull, Wednesday, 1st November 

1876. 



Decrease. 
Boats. 

Price. 

Close time. 

Spawning. 



Present : 
Archibald Young, Esquire. 
Archibald Maclean, general merchant, residing in Tobermory. Has 
been acquainted for 20 years with the lobster fisheries in Mull, Raasay, Skye, 
and the Lews. This year has been an exceptionally good year for the lobster 
fisheries around Mull ; but, previously to this year, there had been a great 
falling off, probably to the extent of a fourth. This decline commenced 
about six years ago. The lobsters have decreased in average size. The two- 
for-one lobsters form nearly half the whole take now. Over-fishing is the 
chief cause of this decrease. Creels have been used ever since he knew the 
fishings ; never remembers seeing rings used. Twice as many boats are engaged 
in the fisheries as when he commenced business, and these boats carry three 
times as many creels per boat as were formerly carried. It is therefore 
abundantly evident that there are not as many lobsters in these seas as there 
used to be, or else far more would be got from the increase in the number of 
boats and creels. Once sold a dozen lobsters for 71. They were picked 
lobsters, weighing from 7 to 10 pounds each. In his early days the prices of 
lobsters in London and the English markets were higher than now ; but the 
prices in the Highlands are higher now than formerly. Is in favour of a close 
time for lobsters, from May to September inclusive. This would be for the 
general good of the fisheries, though it might be hard upon the fishermen on 
the Atlantic coast of the Long Island and similar stormy localities, where the 
fishing is chiefly carried on in summer and autumn . Lobsters spawn all the 
year round, but chiefly in the months of May, June, July, August, and 
September. Does not think that the enforcement of a close time through the 
markets would be sufficient. Would prefer to have an officer specially appointed 



59 

to see that the close time was strictly observed. One such officer would be LOBSTERS 

sufficient for the whole of the island of Mull. Would also combine with the 

close time a gauge for lobsters. There should be a 5-inch barrel gauge, and Gauge. 

lobsters of 4$ inches in the barrel should count two for one ; but all lobsters 

below 4£ inches should be returned to the water. The same officer who sees to 

the enforcement of the close time might also see that the gauge was adhered to 

during the open season. If a gauge were fixed for British lobsters, would 

admit no foreign lobsters into the home market under that gauge. There are 

only four shipping places for lobsters in Mull. These are Tobermory, Salen, 

Bunessan, and Croaig. Has heard of the artificial ponds at Bernera, Ponds. 

Tarbert in Harris, &c. Does not at all approve of them. They keep lobsters 

caught in the summer months until they can be sent to market. The lobsters 

in these ponds are forced, by starvation or insufficient food, to prey upon each 

other. They get watery, out of condition, and unfit for human food. Has 

no doubt that it is quite possible to clear out a lobster ground of limited 

extent so as to render it not worth fishing. Has known localities where this 

has taken place. Thinks a proof of this is that, in the end of the season, the 

fishermen will scarcely get a dozen lobsters in a week on spots where in the 

beginning of the season they would get a dozen in a day. Very fine lobsters 

are taken in the mouth of Loch Sunart off the Sound of Mull. Has a dozen 

just now in his shop weighing upwards of 60 pounds. The lobsters from the 

Island of Barra are even finer. Very few are taken there under four pounds. 

David Campbell, fish merchant, Salen. Has been acquainted with the 
lobster fisheries of Mull, and the immediately adjacent lochs and islands, for 
more than 30 years, since 1844. Lobsters have diminished, both in number Decrease. 
and size, since he began business. The London prices were higher formerly 
than at present ; but the prices in the Highlands are higher now than formerly. Price. 
Has got as much as 3s. 6d. and 4s. a piece for lobsters in the months of February 
and March. From 1847 to 1855 was the time when the prices were highest in 
London. There are scarcely half as many boats fishing now as there once used Boats. 
to be, but each boat carries more creels. Formerly each boat carried from 18 
to 36 creels, whereas now each boat carries from 60 to 80. • If lobsters were 
as plentiful as they once were, the improvement and increase in fishing gear 
should produce more fish. Thinks that the principal cause of the decrease in 
the number and average size of lobsters is fishing during the months of July 
and August. Lobsters breed all the year round, but it is in these months that Spawning. 
the spawn comes to maturity, and therefore there should be a close time in 
July and August. Does not approve of the close time from 1st June to 1st Close time. 
September, enacted by the old Act of George II. Remembers Lord Strathallan 
giving him a copy of that Act ; but it was never observed or enforced here. 
Would restrict the close time to July and August. Would not be satisfied 
with enforcing the close time under a penalty in the public market. Prefers 
enforcing it by an officer specially appointed. One such officer would be 
sufficient for Mull and Iona. Lobster fishing is not readily concealed, so 
the close time might be easily enforced by such an officer. Possibly the July 
close time might be felt as a hardship by the fishermen on the western coasts of 
the outer Hebrides, but the lobsters caught in these remote places in July 
would not carry to the London market. The lobsters that count two for one, Gauge. 
that is, the lobsters under 4^ inches in barrel, are often under 3 inches in the 
barrel — in fact, of any size. This is a very destructive practice. Would prevent 
it by enacting a gauge ; and would return all lobsters under 3^ inches in the 
barrel. Would prefer 4 inches ; but thinks there might be a strong opposition 
to this among the fishermen. Would enforce the gauge, like close time, by the 
fishery officer. 12 fathoms water is the deepest they fish in here. Believes 
they might get bigger lobsters if they occasionally fished in deeper water. 
Does not approve of the artificial ponds. The lobsters in them are starved and Ponds. 
prey on each other, and those that remain are in bad condition, unfit for 
human food. Once tried a pond on a small scale himself, by decking over a 
large skiff and keeping lobsters in it. Although he fed them, he found the 
plan did not answer. The lobsters were unfit for the market. The coining in 
of a large consignment of Norwegian lobsters to the London market at the 
same time as a quantity of Scotch lobsters, an occurrence which not unfre- 
quently takes place, causes a glut in the market, and lowers prices. Has occa- 
sionally, owing to this cause, got as little as Is. 5d. a dozen for four boxes. 



60 



CRABS. 

Will not carry. 

LOBSTERS. 

Decrease. 



LOBSTERS. The Mull lobsters are very good in size and quality, though not quite equal to 
those from the island of Barra, which he believes to be the largest in Scotland. 
The lobsters from the mouth of Loch Sunart are large and fine, but not 
numerous. Got one there last summer upwards of 7 lbs.' weight. The chief 
lobster grounds in this district are the south and west coasts of Mull, the 
Trishnish islands, the Torren rocks, and Iona. Does not think there would be 
much opposition to a close time among the fishermen here, especially when they 
began to see its advantages. There are a good many crabs about Mull ; but 
they won't carry to the English market. They are chiefly got in the lobster 
creels. They are well sized, but somewhat watery. Those got in the crevices 
of the rocks are of better quality. Crabs don't keep like lobsters ; they are 
much more delicate. 

William Sproat, writer, procurator fiscal, Tobermory. Has been 30 
years resident in Tobermory, during which time he has paid considerable 
attention to the lobster fisheries around Mull and the neighbouring islands. 
Lobsters are not nearly as plentiful as formerly, and, on an average, not above 
half the size. Places that were productive fishing grounds when he first came 
to Mull, are now almost exhausted ; for example, Tobermory Bay and as far 
round as Caillach Head. Is quite certain that a lobster ground of moderate 
extent may be almost entirely exhausted by over-fishing ; and such a ground, 
when once exhausted, is very difficult to restock, as lobsters keep very much to 
their own grounds. For instance, he does not think that a lobster belonging 

Migration. to Tobermory Bay would go far outside its own grounds. A close time for 

lobsters, and a gauge, are imperatively called tor to restore the fishings. 

Close time. Neither would be sufficient separately. Their combination is absolutely neces- 

sary. The close time should be that of the old Act of George II., from 1st June 

Spawning. to 1st September. Lobsters breed all the year round ; but the summer season 

is best adapted for propagation. Does not consider the enforcement of the 
close time in the public markets, under a penalty, directed against taking, 
buying, or selling to be sufficient. Would also have a fishery officer ap- 
pointed for the Mull district, who should have authority to examine the fishing 
grounds during the close months, and also the boats, creels, &c. during the 
fishing season. It should be the duty of this officer not only to see that the 
close time was strictly observed, but also that the gauge was adhered to. Is 

Gauge. m favour of a 5-inch barrel gauge, and would return all lobsters to the sea 

under that size, and would prohibit the admission of all foreign lobsters to the 
British market under that size. The fishery officer should have power to seize 
brevi manu all lobsters under the prescribed size. The custom-house officer at 
Tobermory might easily act as fishery officer also, without at all neglecting his 
more peculiar duties. For this additional work he should get 15Z. a year salary 
and an allowance of 5s. when obliged to be from home for a night. When he 
first remembers the fisheries there were not half as many boats engaged on 
them as at present. Remembers when there were only three or four boats 
belonging to Tobermory that prosecuted the lobster fisheries thoroughly. 
Then each boat carried only from 20 to 25 creels ; now each boat carries more 
than double that number. This increase in the amount of fishing gear is neces- 
sitated by the scarcity of lobsters. With the old amount of fishing gear the fisher- 
men could not earn a living. Agrees with the preceding witness, in his con- 
demnation of the artificial ponds for keeping lobsters. The Barra lobsters are 
the finest that are brought to Tobermory. Wishes to express his opinion that 
the object of the present Commission will be fully attained if it should result in 
the enactment of a close time and a gauge combined. The combination of the 
two is essential and for the benefit both of the fisherman and the consumer. 

Neil Macquarrie, formerly a fisherman, and now a fish merchant in Tober- 
mory. Was a practical fisherman for 20 years, and is now a buyer. His 
experience of the lobster fisheries extends not on]y to Mull, but also to North 
Uist, Benbecula, and Barra. The last-named island produces about the best 
lobsters in Scotland. Lobsters are decreasing in number and in size 

Decrease. through over-fishing. Does not, however, see the necessity of a close time; 

a gauge is the true remedy ; but if there is to be a close time would restrict it 

Gauge. to the months of July and August. A gauge is imperatively required. They 

are catching far too small lobsters at present, less than 3 inches in the barrel. 
.At least a third of the lobsters sent off from Mull are the two-for-one lobsters. 
Would take no two-for-one lobsters ; would return them all ; or rather, per- 



Creels. 



Ponds. 



61 

haps, would count lobsters 4 inches in the barrel and upwards whole lobsters. LOBSTERS. 
Would allow the 4 inch lobsters to count two for one, and would return all 
below 4 inches. The gauge should be enforced in the public markets under a Gauge. 
penalty, and should apply to the whole country and to all lobsters, from what- 
ever quarter, brought into the home market. Has fished in 15 fathoms water ; 
but has known fishermen fish in 20 fathoms. On sandy grounds lobsters are 
larger but less numerous than on rocky grounds. Thinks that lobsters spawn 
all the year round. Sent off this year 297 dozen lobsters, the produce of one 
boat fishing for him off the island of Canna. Had four other boats fishing 
for him — two at the Trishnish islands ; one at Loch Tua ; and one in Tober- 
mory Bay and round Ardnamurchan. Believes that he has sent off this year 
at least 1,000 dozen of lobsters. This, however, has been an exceptionally good Price. 
j r ear as regards the take of lobsters, but prices have been low. The prices in 
London were much higher when he first began fishing than they are now ; 
thinks that this is in a great measure owingto the competition of the Norwegian 
lobsters. Thinks that the islands of North Uist and Barra produce at least as 
many lobsters as the island of Mull. Bunessan, Salen, and Tobermory are 
the chief places for shipping the Mull lobsters. Thinks that lobsters stay 
very much on their own grounds. Good lobsters are to be got in Loch Ewe 
and Gairloch on the Ross-shire coast. Crabs are plentiful and good about CRABS. 
Mull, but there is no market for them. Thinks that there should be a 5-inch ^o market 
gauge for crabs. Gauge. 

Archibald Macdonald, general merchant, Tobermory. Has been ac- LOBSTERS, 
quainted with the lobster fisheries, as a lobster buyer, for 25 years. Can 
speak as to these fisheries around the islands of Mull, Rum, Coll, Tiree, Canna, 
and Muck, and also around Ardnamurchan. The present year has been a pro- 
ductive one generally, though in some places there has been a falling off. Is Decrease. 
not prepared to say that the fisheries have fallen off much. Where there is an 
experienced and hard-working crew, about as many lobsters are got now as 
formerly. The Trishnish Islands, near Mull, have been closely fished for 30 Close time. 
years, and they are still productive. Twenty-five years ago each boat would carry 
40 creels ; now each boat will carry 60. They fish all the year round here, except 
from the middle of November to the 1st March, when the weather is generally 
too stormy. On the Atlantic seaboard of the Outer Hebrides there is no n eed 
of a close time. Nature provides one, and the lobsters get a rest. On the Weather. 
inner bays and lochs, which are sheltered from the Atlantic storms, and may 
be fished all the year round, such as Gairloch, Loch Ewe, &c, a close time 
might be advisable, If there is E to be a close time it should be restricted 
to the months of July and August. Thinks that lobsters spawn principally Close time. 
in these months, though berried hens are to be found all the year round. The Spawning. 
close time should be enforced in the market, under a penalty, applying to 
taking, buying, or selling. Thinks that there is no need of a fishery officer. 
Is in favour of a gauge to apply to the whole kingdom. Would allow no Gauge. 
lobster under 4 inches in barrel to be taken : all lobsters of 4^ inches and 
upwards to count as whole lobsters, and those of 4 inches as half, or 2 for 1 
lobsters. There is still good lobster fishing in Tobermory Bay, and around 
the island that shelters it, though they have been closely fished. 

Gets the largest lobsters on sandy ground, but they are not numerous 
on such ground. 12 fathoms is the deepest water in which they fish for 
lobsters here, but larger lobsters might possibly be got by fishing in deeper 
water, except in the summer months when they approach the shore. There 
Are no artificial ponds in Mull for storing lobsters. Thinks they would not Ponds. 
answer. The lobsters in them would get out of condition and be unfit for mar- 
ket. Ships at least 1,000 dozen of lobsters annually from Mull and believes Supply of. 
that the whole shipment by the various lobster merchants, in the island is 
from 35,000 to 40,000 annually. When he first commenced business the 
prices in London were much higher than they are now. Attributes this to the 
competition of the Norwegian lobsters. This year he sometimes received only 
5s. a dozen for lobsters — a ruinous price. 12s. per dozen is the lowest price that CRABS. 

pays him. There is a plentiful supply of crabs of good size and quality all 

about Mull, but there is no market for them. They will not carry to where there not carry ' 

is a demand for them, and there is no market for them here. 



62 



Glasgow, Friday, 3rd November 1876. 



LOBSTERS. 



Decrease. 



Close time. 



Gauge, 



Creels. ' 



Close time. 



Gauge. 



Supply of. 



Present : 
Archibald Young, Esquire. 

Captain Swinburne, R.N. Is proprietor of Eileari Shona and of the island 
of Muck in the county of Inverness. Has paid much attention to the subject 
of the lobster fisheries, and prosecuted them for three years — from 1856 to 
1859 — in the neighbourhood of Eilean Shona and Ardnamurchan . Thinks 
that lobsters have fallen off both in number and size, and that the great cause 
of this is over-fishing. While engaged in lobster fishing, he himself always 
observed the close time, from 1st June to 1st September, provided by the Act 
9 Geo. II., c. 33, sec. 4, but never knew of any other person who observed it. 
Thinks that a close time is absolutely essential for the restoration of the lobster 
fisheries. It should be from 1st June to 1st October, and should be enforced 
under a penalty in the market. The penalty should apply to taking, buying, 
or selling during the close months. Where there are coastguardmen their 
services might possibly be made available in seeing that the close time was 
strictly observed. Would have a gauge in addition to a close time, and would 
allow no lobster to be taken under 4 inches in the barrel. There are still good 
lobsters to be found about the island of Muck, but the average weight has 
decidedly fallen off, though occasionally individual lobsters are got as large as 
any caught formerly. The boats now engaged in the lobster fishing carry 
more creels than they used to do, and would get far more lobsters than they 
get if lobsters were as plentiful in these seas as formerly. Considers it quite 
possible to exhaust a lobster ground by over-fishing so as to render it not 
worth working. 

Captain John W. P. Orde, of North Uist. Has been acquainted with 
the lobster fisheries, and taken an interest in them for 20 years. Speaks 
specially with regard to those of North Uist, and generally with regard to 
those of the Outer Hebrides. Twenty years ago the lobster fishing in North Uist 
was almost unknown as a general industry. It was first prosecuted by boats 
from Ireland, and was afterwards taken up by Harris and Bernera men ; but 
now a considerable number of the natives of North Uist take part in it. The 
lobster fisheries in North Uist are very valuable, and there are far more men 
and boats now engaged in them than formerly. The fisheries on the western 
coast of North Uist are chiefly in the hands of men from the island of Ber- 
nera, and from the Hysker Islands. No close time has ever been observed in 
any of the western islands, except Colonsay. Were there to be a close time 
enforced during the summer and autumn months, it would practically put a' 
stop to the lobster fishing on the Atlantic coast of North Uist and the rest of 
the Outer Hebrides. A gauge strictly enforced by a prohibition, under a 
penalty, against taking, buying, or selling any lobster under the prescribed size, 
is the true remedy to restore the fisheries. It should apply to foreign lobsters 
brought to the British markets, as well as to British g lobsters. The gauge 
should be <\\ inches in the barrel. Inspectors of markets and harbour police 
should see to its enforcement. Informers should be rewarded, and any person 
should be entitled to prosecute. Loch Maddy and Kallin are the principal 
shipping places for lobsters from the Sound of Harris, coasts of North Uist, 
Benbecula, and the fords between Benbecula and South Uist, and Benbecula 
and North Uist. Was travelling in September last in the steamer which calls 
once a fortnight on her passage south at these shipping places and at Loch 
Boisdale and Barra, and there were taken on board during that trip 70 boxes 
containing on an average six dozen lobsters each, or upwards of 5,000 lobsters 
in all. This did not seem to be regarded as at all a remarkable consignment, 
and may therefore be taken as a fair average of the fortnightly catch at these 
places. The lobsters are carried in boxes on the upper deck of the steamer; 
believes that in warm weather considerable losses occur ; but an improved 
method of packing and carriage might possibly be devised which would make 
these losses lighter. 



03 
Glasgow, Saturday, 4th November 1876. 

Present: 

Archibald Young, Esquire. 

Hugh Maclachlan, fish merchant, 18, Jackson Street, Glasgow. Has LOBSTERS. 

been 30 years engaged in the lobster trade. Was the first person who ever 

sent a boat to fish in the island of Harris, now a chief centre of the lobster 
fisheries. When he first began business, Mr. Ritchie, Iona, Mr. Gallagher, 
Greenock, and himself had the whole trade in lobsters on the western coasts 
and islands in their hands. Lobsters were then very plentiful, far more Decrease. 
plentiful than they are now, and they did not generally go farther north than 
Salen, in Mull, to fish for them. Was the first man to introduce creels for 
fishing for lobsteis at Port Skerry, on the west coast of Sutherlandshire. 
Previously to that, the fishermen there had all fished with rings. Creels are 
more deadly, and enable the fishermen to fish in deeper water. The boats at 
first would carry about 36 creels per boat. Each boat now carries many more Creels. 
creels, and there are three times as many boats engaged in fishing. In 1852, 
one of his boats fishing at the Hysker Islands, took 100 boxes of lobsters 
in a fortnight, each box containing 'S\ dozen, for which he paid 10s. per 
dozen ; 3\ dozen lobsters would then fill a box ; now it takes from 7 to 8 
dozen to do so. Lobsters have decreased greatly in size as well as in number. 
If there were as many lobsters in the sea as there used to be, the increased 
number of boats and creels should catch four times as many as they do. 
Never used to commence lobster fishing before 1st October, and stopped on 
1st May. Has paid as much as 2,500/. in one year for lobsters shipped at 
Kallin and Tarbert in Harris. His reason for commencing fishing on 1st 
October, and stopping on 1st May, was that it seemed to him in the long run 
to be the most judicious and profitable course to follow. Considers, and has Close time. 
always considered, that a close time is essential for the preservation and de- 
velopment of the fisheries ; and now that they have decreased so much, they 
can only be restored by enacting a close time, and seeing it strictly enforced. 
Would have the fishing season to extend from 1st November to 1st May, and 
would have the rest of the year close time, the close time to be enforced in the 
public markets, as in the Salmon Fishery Acts. The penalty should apply to 
taking, buying, or selling. Is of opinion that the close time suggested would 
not interfere with the productiveness of the fishings on the west coast of the 
Long Island, and of the other Outer Hebrides, because the lobsters caught in 
these places during the warm months won't carry to market, the localities are 
so remote. They won't keep. There is a great loss, even in the case of the 
lobsters caught on the Atlantic seaboard of these islands during the latter half 
of May, in their transit to the English markets. When first engaged in the 
lobster trade, scarcely ever took a lobster under 4J inches in barrel. Lobsters Gauge. 
counted two for one if they wanted a claw. Put back all the small lobsters, 
and hardly ever took one under A\ inches in barrel. Is obliged now to take 
them any size, often under 3 inches in the barrel ; but strongly disapproves 
of taking such small lobsters, and would wish to have a gauge enacted which 
would effectually put a stop to it. Thinks the gauge by barrel measurement 
the fairest and best. Would return to the sea all lobsters under Ah inches in the 
barrel. Twelve fathoms is the deepest water in which he has known lobsters 
fished for. The average weight of lobsters has decreased at least one-half. 
Thirty years ago 20 lobsters would weigh as much as 45 now. Over-fishing is 
the cause of this. Prices are now higher than when he first began business. Price. 
Paid at first from 10s. to 12s. per dozen all the year round, now pays double. 
Last year occasionally gave 40s. a dozen for lobsters. Once got a half tea- 
chest of lobsters from Portencross on the Firth of Clyde, containing about 
three dozen. This was sent to Messrs. W. Forbes Stuart, & Co. of London, and 
the price got for the three dozen was 18/. 10s. This was about the year 1851 
or 1852. Norwegian lobsters first came in about 15 years ago. They have 
had a very bad effect in lowering prices in the home market. If a gauge be Gauge. 
enacted it must apply to all lobsters brought to the British market, foreign as 
well as home. The gauge and close time should also, if possible, apply to the 
whole country, and not be local; but if it should be found expedient, for 
40353. N 



64 



LOBSTERS. 



Close time. 



Ponds. 



Spawning. 



Supply of. 
CRABS. 

Close time. 
Gauge. 



example, to allow the Cornish lobster fishermen to fish during the month of 
July on the great lobster ground off the Land's End, which is so exposed that 
summer is the only fishing season, would then have the close time he has 
suggested made applicable to the whole of Scotland, leaving England to be 
separately dealt with. Regards a close time as absolutely essential. Would 
prefer, if practicable, to have it applicable to the whole kingdom ; but would 
rather have a local close time than none at all. Entirely disapproves of arti- 
ficial ponds for keeping lobsters in for a length of time, until they are wanted 
for the market. In such ponds the lobsters are starved, and get watery and 
out of condition. The sending of such lobsters to the English market gives a 
bad character to the Scotch lobsters. All the lobster salesmen in England that 
have received such lobsters entirely disapprove of them Once lost about 5001. 
in one season owing to some of his men having contracted for the lobsters 
from three of these ponds. 

Has no doubt whatever that a lobster ground of limited extent may be so 
cleared out by over-fishing as to be exhausted for all practical purposes. Thinks 
that lobsters spawn chiefly in the months of March and April, though berried 
hens are got all the year round. In March and April there are from 40 to 45 
per cent, of berried hens. Thinks that a rough estimate put before him, 
calculating the whole yield of the Scotch lobster fisheries at 300,000 annually, 
is not far from the truth. Does not think it an over-estimate. Would have a 
close time for crabs, the same as that for lobsters, and also a gauge of 4f inches ; 
but does not speak with the same confidence regarding crabs, not having had 
the same experience of them as of lobsters. 



65 



APPENDIX No. II. 



Stations of the Officers of the Board of White Herring Fishery, 
Scotland (communicated to the Commissioners by the Honourable 
Bouverie Primrose, Secretary to the Board). — February 1877. 





Station. 


No. 


Station. 


No. 






Eyemouth - 
Leith 

Anstruther - 
Montrose - 


1 
2 


Wick 

St. Margaret's 

Hope, Orkney - 

Lerwick, Shetland 


2 






Aberdeen 
Peterhead 
Fraserburgh 
Macduff - 




Stornoway - 
Ullapool - 
Broadford, Skye - 
Fort William 








Buckie 
Burghead - 
Cromarty - 
Helmsdale 




Campbeltown 
Ardrishaig - 
Rothesay - 
Greenock 


o 






Lybster 




Girvan 


1 





N 2 



INDEX TO EVIDENCE. 

(SCOTLAND.) 



ADAMS, Robert, Evidence of, 8. 
Anderson, John, Evidence of, 1. 

BAIN, John. Evidence of, 28. 

James, Evidence of, 34. 

Bait for crabs and lobsters, (see " Crabs, bait for," and " Lobsters, bait for.") 
Bar, the, at Dunbar, delays boats, 44. 
Barlow, James, Evidence of, 10. 
Berried Crabs : 

Are thrown back, 16, 41. 

Should be prohibited, 1, 2, 7, 16, 25, 41. 
Berried Lobsters : 

Should be prohibited, 2, 7, 11, 18, 23, 24, 27, 28, 36, 41. 

not be prohibited, 3,5, 16, 35, 37, 38. 

Value of, 2, 3, 4, 5, 35. 
Berries : 

Could be removed from crabs without detection, 37- 

not be removed from crabs without detection, 2* 

lobsters without detection, 2. 

Boats and Pots : 

Decreased number of, 9, 13, 14, 16, 27, 54, 58, 59. 

Increased number of, 3, 4, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 26, 35, 38, 39, 
42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 58, 59. 60. 61, 62, 63. 

Should be licensed, and carry flags, 23. 
Brand, James, Evidence of, 44. 
Brodie, James, Evidence of, 17. 

P., Evidence of, 40, 41. 

Brough, Robert, Evidence of, 34, 37. 
Bruce, George, Evidence of, 11. 
Buchan, George, Evidence of, 12. 

William, Evidence of, 21, 23. 

A., Evidence of, 20. 

CAMPBELL, William, Evidence of, 24. 

David, Evidence of, 59. 

— ■ Duncan, Evidence of, 54. 

Carmichael, A., Evidence of, 57. 
Carnie, Mrs., Evidence of, 51, 
Christie, Alexander, Evidence of, 15. 

James, Evidence of, 16. 

Close Season : 

For Crabs, recommended : — 

April, May, and June, 50. 

1st May to 1st November, 64. 

May, June, and July, 19. 

June, 3. 

June, July, and August, 2, 3, 4, 10, 18, 29, 30. 

and September, 29. 

July and August, 11, 12, 39, 40, 59. 

1st July to 15th September, 45. 

July to September, 11, 12, 24. 

9th July to 1st March, 33. 

12th July to 1st April, 22. 



68 

Close Season — cont. 

For Crabs, recommended — cont. 
'1st August to 1st February, 34. 

1st April, 50, 51. 

August to November, 41. 

• October, 45. 

1st September to 1st April, 21, 23. 

Is1 December, 40, 41 

October to January, 46 

1st October to 1st March, 6. 

15th October to 15th February, 17. 

November, December, and January/jl5, 16, 17. 

1st November to 1st June, 19, 20. 

1st March, 25, 26. 

1st August, 57. 

30th June, 58. 

1st December to 1st April, 9, 10. 

1st March, 13, 14, 32. 

For Lobsters, recommended : 

1st March to 30th June, 26 

1st April to 30th September, 49. 

1st May to 31st August, 42, 43, 48/53. 

12th May to 31st August, 53. 

May, June, and July, 19. 

1st May to 30th September, 49, 54, 58. 

30th November, 52. 

31st October, 54, 63. 

June and July, 46. 

June, July, and August, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 13, 29, 44, 54, 57, 58, 60. 

1st June to 1st October, 19, 38, 62. 

15th June to 1st March, 27. 

31st January, 28. 

July and August, 12, 39, 61. 

1st July to 1st November, 35, 37. 

1st October, 35. 

9th July to 1st March, 33. 

16th July to 1st December, 36. 

1st August to 1st February, 34. 

• 1st January, 38. 

November, December, and January, 16, '17. 

1st October to 1st March. 6. 

1st December, to 1st March, 32, 33. 
Formerly observed, 30. 

Natural, through fishing for other fish, 3, 6, 14, 16, 21, 22, 28/30, 31, 32, 

33, 34, 38, 39. I r~ 



bad weather, 6, 13, 14, 19, 21, 42, 46, 47, 48, 58, 61. 



Observed from 8th October to 10th June, 20. 

June to November, 52, 53. 

Under 9 Geo. II., cap. 33, not observed, 3, 6, 13, 18, 19, 25, 27, 30, 35, 

38, 42, 48, 59. 

formerly enforced, 5, 45, 62. 

Coastguard should enforce law, 9, 13, 42, 62. 
Combie, Alexander, Evidence of, 45. 
Comer, A., Evidence of, 33. 
Cowie, J. T., Evidence of, 1.7. 
Crabs : 

Bait for, 4, 5, 7. 8, 9, 14, 16, 20, 25/40, 57. 

Boiling of, 1, 4, 10, 41. 

Breeding and spawning of, 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 18, 20, 22, 23/25, 32, 39, 

40,41,51,56. '_*-'»"..»'.' 

Bury themselves in the sand, 18, 36. 

Caught best in hot weather, 6. 

< rough weather, 9, 45, 51. 



69 



Crabs — cont. 

Caught best in rocks, 11. 
sand, 7, 9. 



— • muddy water, 6. 



Changing their habitat, 14. 

Claws of, alone, sent to market, 8, 9, 45. 

Decrease of, in numbers : Edinburgh, 1 ; Montrose, 4 ; Gourdon, 7 ; 
Muchalls, 8,15; Catterline, 10; Peterhead, 
11 ; Buchanhaven, 12; Bodham, 13 ; Bervie, 
13; Cove, 14; Skateraw, 16; Dunnottar, 16 ; 
Stonehaven, 17; Cratown, 17; Banff, 18; 
Whitehills, 18, 19; Macduff, 20; Fraserburgh, 
23 ; Inverness, 25 ; Thurso, 25 ; Duncansby, 
Head, 27; Wick, 29, 30; John O'Groats, 
32; Burghead,9; North Berwick, 40, 41; 
Dunbar, 45; Newhaven, 50, 51; Cove, 56 ; 
Oban, 58. 

, in size : Edinburgh, 1, 2, 3, 4 ; Fifeshire coast, 3; Muchalls, 

8 ; Catterline, 10 ; Bervie, 13 ; Macduff, 20 ; Fraser- 
burgh, 22; Thurso, 25,26; North Berwick, 41 ; 
Dumbarton, 44, 45 ; Newhaven, 50. 

Different sizes of, 40. 

Enemies of, 39, 40, 51, 56. 

Fishing above low-water mark should be prohibited, 23, 24. 

Food of, 5, 7. 

Growth of, 3, 23, 40. 

Habitat of, 6, 7, 9, 11, 18, 36. 

Increased numbers of : — Fifeshire coast, 3 ; Edinburgh, 4 ; Dunbar, 46. 

Injured by storms, 11, 12, 32. 

Migration of, 4, 12, 13, 14, 18, 21, 22, 40, 41, 56, 57. 

Mode of counting, 1, 7, 21. 

More valuable for bait than for food, 9, 14. 

No decrease : — Arbroath, 6, 8 ; John Haven, 6 ; Gourdon, 8 ; Peterhead, 
11; Muchalls, 15; Wick, 29; Duncansby, 32 ; Dunbar, 
45; Cove, 56. 

Non -migratory, 4, 7, 47. 

Price of, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 27, 39, 51, 56, 57, 58. 

Relative numbers of male and female, 1, 18. 

values of male and female, 25, 51. 

Season for, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 32, 40, 45, 51, 57, 58„ 

Shedding their shell, 3, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 22, 23, 25, 32, 40, 41, 44, 51. 

Should not be caught for seven years, 19. 

every seventh year, 20. 

Small, escape from the creels, 15. 

, are thrown back, 16, 56. 

, preferred, 45, 51, 56. 

Soft, should be prohibited, 22, 44, 45, 46, 50, 51, 55, 56. 

, are put back, 55. 

Valueless, 27, 33, 36, 50. 

Used for bait, 2, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 29, 41. 

Will not carry far, 36, 37, 47, 55, 60, 61. 
Craig, Mitchell, Evidence of, 14. 
Cray-fish : — Market for, 41. 
Creels :— Should be prohibited, 28, 29, 33. 

Use of (See pots). 

DAVIDSON, William, Evidence of, 21, 39. 

Mrs., Evidence of, 21. 

Dunbar, William, Evidence of, 26. 
Doughty, John, Evidence of, 46. 
Dunnet, John, Evidence of, 32. 

Thomas, Evidence of, 32. 

Duthie, Andrew, Evidence of, 24. 



70 

ENFORCEMENT of Law, 2, 3, 5, 9, 13, 14, 19, 23, 28, 31, 35, 37, 42, 49, 58, 

59, 60, 62. 

FAIRBURN, T., Evidence of, 55. 
Filleul, C, Evidence of, 45. 
Finlay, George, Evidence of, 17. 
Rett, Samuel, Evidence of, 38. 
Flucker, James, Evidence of, 50. 

Mrs., Evidence of, 51. 

Foster, James, Evidence of, 41. 

GAUGE : 

For Crabs, recommended : — 

3 inches, 6, 7. 

3% inches, 44, 50, 51. 

4kiches, 7,8,22,24,39,56. 

A\ inches, 12. 

4\ inches, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 25, 64. 

4f inches, 6. 

5 inches, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, \22, 23, 26, 32, 33, 34, 41, 46, 51, 

57, 58, 61. 
5| inches, 3, 12, 13, 39. 

6 inches, 1, 3, 4. 
Is observed, 21, 22. 

For Lobsters, recommended : — 
3h inches in the barrel, 59. 

4 6, 8, 11, 12, 22, 26, 39, 40, 42, 45, 50, 54, 57, 

58, 62. 

4| 21, 23. 

4 i 3, 7, 17, 21, 23, 26, 30, 31, 42, 46, 48, 49, 52, 

56, 59, 61, 62 63. 
5 16, 19, 25, 60. 

5 in. from tip of nose to beginning of tail, 19. 

7 18. 

9 23. 

7 inches long, 23. 

8 24, 27, 32, 33, 34, 46, 47, 53, 54. 

9 19, 20, 31, 35, 37, 38. 

10 ■ 36. • 

Formerly observed, 2, 7- 
Goodall, James, Evidence of, 40, 41. 
Gray, Capt. David, Evidence of, 12, 13. 
Greg, Alexander, Evidence of, 5. 
Gullan, James, Evidence of, 41. 
Gunn, D., Evidence of, 29. 

HEBRIDES, abundance of shell fish in, 24, 42, 46, 48, 53. 
Hercus, John, Evidence of, 37. 

■- Robert, Evidence of, 36, 39. 

Herring fisheries more important than crab fishery, 14, 32, 33, 34, 39* 
fishermen do not fish for crabs and lobsters, 30, 31. 



- fishery officers should enforce law, 2, 3, 14, 19, 28, 37. 



Hutton, Thomas, Evidence of, 11, 13. 
Hutchinson, W., Evidence of, 45. 

INGRAM, J., Evidence of, 13. 
Innes, Capt. Bentley, Evidence of 33. 
Inspectors should be appointed, 58, 59, 60. 

JAMIESON, John, Evidence of, 5. 



71 

Jenkins, T., Evidence of, 39. 
Johnson, James, Evidence of, 3. 

Joseph, Evidence of, 4. 

W. D., Evidence of, 8. 

KARE, Malcolm, Evidence of, 53. 

LAIRD, Gilbert, Evidence of, 32. 
Leper, Alexander, Evidence of, 15. 
Liston, J., Evidence of, 50. 
Livingstone, Mrs., Evidence of, 11. 
Lobsters : 

Are used to the creels and will not enter them, 29, 30. 
Bait for, 7, 28, 57- 
Boiling of, 4, 41. 

Breeding and spawning of, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 23, 26, 27, 29, 31, 

36, 38, 41, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 58, 59, 60, 
61, 64. 
Caught on rocks, 7, 61. 

in frosty weather, 42, 54. 

deep water, 37, 43, 47. 

Decrease of, in numbers: — Edinburgh, 2, 4; Harris, 4, 63; Gourdon, 7; 
Peterhead, 11, 12; Buchanhaven, 12; Bod- 
ham, 13 ; Dunnottar, 16 ; Cratown, 17; Banff, 
17; Whitehills, 18, 19; Moray Frith, 19, 
28 ; Orkneys, 19 ; L. Erribol, 19, 26 ; Mac- 
duff, 20 ; St. Combs, 21 ; Inverallochy, 21 ; 
Fraserburgh, 23, 24 ; Inverness, 25 ; Thurso, 
25, 26 ; Dunnet Head, 27 ; Keiss, 28, 34 ; 
Wick, 29, 30 ; Pentland Frith, 30, 32 ; John 
o'Groats; 32 ; Kirkwall, 34, 35 ; Stromness, 
36, 38 ; Burghead, 39 ; North Berwick, 40, 
41 ; Portree, 42, 43 ; Dunbar, 45 ; Storno- 
way, 48, 49 ; Newhaven, 51 ; Tarbert, 52, 53, 
54; Salen, 54; Cove, 55; Oban, 57, 58; 
Tobermory, 58, 59, 60 ; Ardnamurchan a 62. 

size: — Edinburgh, 2, 3, 4; Iona, 4; Peterhead. 12; 

Thurso, 25 ; Kirkwall, 35, 36 ; North Berwick, 
40,41; Portree, 42, 43; Rona, 43 ; Storno- 
way, 48 ; Tarbert, 52, 53 ; Salen, 54 ; Tober- 
mory, 58, 59, 60 ; Ardnamurchan, 62 ; Harris, 
63. 
Destroyed by tobacco from a wreck, 12, 13, 21. 

storms, 27. 

Different sizes of, 30, 34, 36, 43, 44. 

Do not carry in hot weather, 29, 46, 47, 53, 62, 63. 

Eggs of, 31. 

Enemies of, 32, 39. 

Growth of, 2, 46. 

Habitat of, 7, 37, 43, 47, 59, 61. 

Increased numbers of: — Arbroath, 6; Bernera, 47- 

Injured by storms, 12, 32. 

Kept in reservoirs, &c, 2, 36, 42, 46, 47, 48, 49, 54, 59, 60, 61, 64. 

■ are not good, 48, 49. 

chests at sea, 36. 

coal, 5. 



Large in deep water, 43, 47, 59. 
Migration of, 18, 27, 28, 50, 61. 

on sand, 61. 

Mode of counting, 4, 5. 

packing, 27, 37. 

No decrease : — Johns Haven, 6 ; Gourdon, 8 ; Arbroath, 8 ; Hebrides, 24 ; 
Stromness, 38 ; Bernera, 46 ; Stornoway, 48, 49 ; Cove, 56 ; 
Tobermory, 61. 



72 

Lobsters — cont. 

Non-migratory, 5, 60. 

Norwegian, 17, 59, 63. 

Plugging and tying of, 2, 7, 8, 37, 41, 56. 

Price of, 2, 4, 5, 7, 17, 19, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 42, 43, 
47, 48, 49, 53, 54, 58, 59, 63. 

Season for 12 19 25 29 43 47. 

Shedding their shell 11, 12, 19, 24, 27, 29, 31, 35, 42, 46, 48, 54, 55. 

Should not be fished every seven years, 20. 

Small are put back, 57, 

Soft, should not be taken, J 1, 35. 

"Will live eight days out of water in cold weather, 27. 

Young of, 31, 41, 44. 

tended by the mother, 41, 44. 

Yield of in Scotland, 36, 48, 49, 52, 61, 62, 63, 64. 
Long lines get foul of the crab pots, 15. 
Lowdon, J., Evidence of, 22. 

MACAULAY, George, Evidence of, 47. 
Macdonald, A., Evidence of, 25, 61. 

D., Evidence of, 42, 53. 

E., Evidence of, 54. 

J., Evidence of, 49. 

Mackenzie, D., Evidence of, 58. 

Hugh, Evidence of, 33. 

Mackie, J., Evidence of, 30, 40. 
McKay, Roderick, Evidence of, 53, 54. 
McKinlay, Isabella, Evidence of, 11. 
Mackintosh, J., Evidence of, 39. 
Maclachlan, H., Evidence of, 63. 
McLean, F., Evidence of, 28. 

A., Evidence of, 58. 

McLeod, A., Evidence of, 49, 52. 

N., Evidence of, 51. 

McQuarrie, N., Evidence of, 60. 
McQueed, W., Evidence of, 53. 
McSween, J., Evidence of, 49. 
Main, William, Evidence of, 39. 
Manson, W., Evidence of, 26. 
Marr, J., Evidence of, 14. 
Mason, J., Evidence of, 16. 
Mayne, Mrs., Evidence of, 51. 
Meff, William, Evidence of, 10. 
Mellis, John, M.D., Evidence of, 23. 
Miller, Robert, Evidence of, 40. 
Mitchell, Alexander, Evidence of 30. 
Moir, James, Evidence of, 7. 
Moore, Angus, Evidence of, 33. 
Morris, J., Evidence of, 42. 
Morrison, Catherine, Evidence of, 34. 

Murdo, Evidence of, 46, 47. 

Muirhead, James, Evidence of, 3. 
Mowat, D., Evidence of, 32. 

A., Evidence of 32. 

James, Evidence of, 34. 

Munro, Archibald, Evidence of 48. 
■■ Donald, Evidence of, 54. 



73 

Murrell, Joseph, Evidence of, 36. 
Mussels, expense of, for bait, 14, 16, 20. 

NEIL, Donald, Evidence of, 35. 
Nets used for catching crabs, 50. 
Nicholls, A. J., Evidence of, 19. 
Noble, James, Evidence of, 17. 

Walter, Evidence of, 23. 

Norway lobsters, importation of, 17, 59, 63. 

ORDE, Captain J. W. P., Evidence of, 62. 

PATERSON, George, Evidence of, 20. 

Paul, William, Evidence of, 8. 

Police should enforce any law, 30. 

Population employed in crab and lobster fishing, 24, 25. 

Ponds for lobsters should be prohibited, 48, 49, 54. (See also " Lobsters.") 

Pots, 3, 9, 16, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36, 38, 45, 46, 48, 55, 57, 63. 

Mesh of, should be increased, 3. 

Number of, has decreased per boat, 9, 13, 14, 16. 

increased. (See " Boats.") 

Purvis, John, Evidence of, 56. 

RAILWAYS, effect of, in increasing demand, 1, 4, 5, 10, 14, 22, 23, 24, 50, 57. 

Ray, John, Evidence of, 56. 

Reid, William, Evidence of, 10, 31, 34. 

John, Evidence of, 39. 

Rings, use of, 11, 20, 25.. 28, 36, 38, 39, 46 3 63. (See also " Pots.") 
Ritchie, W., Evidence of, 18. 

A., Evidence of, 22. 

Robb, J., Evidence of, 39. 
Robertson, J., Evidence of, 42,45. 
W., Evidence of, 46. 

SHARP, John, Evidence of, 44. 
Sinclair, Peter, Evidence of, 38, 39. 
Smith, John, Evidence of, 44. 

Kenneth, Evidence of, 48. 

Mrs., Evidence of, 51. 

Smacks, Employment of, to carry crabs and lobsters, 5, 14, 26, 32, 47,"53, 

welled, 29, 47, 53. 

Sprot, William, Evidence of, 60. 

Stanger, William, Evidence of, 38. 

Steamers, Employment of, to carry crabs and lobsters, 5, 24, 29, 42, 43. 

Stevens, John, Evidence of, 13. 

William, Evidence of, 21. 

James, Evidence of, 22. 

Stewart, William, Evidence of, 43. 

Store pots, and pits, for keeping crabs and lobsters. (See " Lobsters.") 

Strachan, William, Evidence of, 21. 

John, Evidence of, 22. 

Summers, Cumming, Evidence of, 12. 

Supply of shell fish from Scotland, 24, 52, 62, 64. 

Swinburne, Captain, Evidence of, 62. 

TACKSMEN should take crabs and lobster fisheries, 13. 
Tester, Peter, Evidence of, 13, 14. 



74 

Thorburn, Captain Henry, Eviden ce of, 16. 

R., Evidence of, 57. 

Thomson, William, Evidence of, 25. 

D., Evidence of, 27, 30. 

Tobacco, lobsters destroyed by, 12, 13, 21. 
Trawlers injure crab and other fisheries, 14, 39, 40. 

WALKER, James, Evidence of, 7. 

■ Robert, Evidence of, 40, 

Wattey, William, Evidence of, 55. 
Watson, James, Evidence of, 19, 20. 

William, Evidence of, 50. 

Watt, James, 19. 

John, Evidence of, 19. 

Weather, effect of on crabs and lobsters, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12. 19, 27, 29, 32, 42, 

45, 46, 47, 53, 54, 61, 62, 63. 
West, James, Evidence of, 20. 
White, A., Evidence of, 22. 
Wilson, A., Evidence of, 20. 

J., Evidence of, 50. 

■ W., Evidence of, 55, 56. 

Wood, George, Evidence of, 6. 



JOINT APPENDICES 

TO 

REPORTS ON THE CRIB AND LOBSTER 
FISHERIES 

OF 

ENGLAND AND WALES, 

AND OF 

SCOTLAND. 



JOINT APPENDIX No. I. 



Correspondence relative to the Laws in Force for regulating the Shell 
Fisheries of Norway. 

British Consulate General, Christiania, 
My Lord, 6th November 18/6. 

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of Despatch No. 7 (Com- 
mercial) of the 18th ultimo, enclosing copy of a Despatch received from the 
Inspector of Fisheries at Aberdeen, in which he expresses his desire to obtain 
either an abstract or a complete translation of the law in force for regulating 
the taking of shell fish. 

In conformity with your Lordship's instructions, I beg leave to transmit 
copies of the laws bearing on this subject now in force in Norway, one relative 
to the preservation of lobsters, and the other to the pearl mussel fishery, 
with translations of the same. During the late session of the Storthing, a 
Royal Proposition was laid before it, dated 31st December 18/4, to amend the 
Law for the Preservation of Lobsters. 

The proposed amendment only affected the third paragraph of the Act 
in force, in which the fine is fixed at 24 skillings (l(He/.) ; this, it was 
proposed, should be raised to 60 skillings, and that an additional paragraph 
should declare it to be unlawful at any time to possess, sell, buy, or receive 
lobsters under 8 inches in length, as well as lobsters in spawn. 

The rejection of this amendment was, however, recommended by the Committee 
appointed to report upon it, on the ground that those best acquainted with the 
subject failed to recognise its necessity, and, further, that the enforcement of the 
provisions of the proposed amendment would be attended with much difficulty; 
that, from the statistical facts before the Committee, there was no evidence of a 
diminution in the supply of lobsters of late, and that consequently the circum- 
stances did not warrant the adoption of the extraordinary regulations proposed, 
which would be justifiable only when there was a prospect that without such 
restrictions the fishery in question would materially suffer. 

The annual take of lobsters in Norway may be estimated at about 1 ,000,000, 
representing a value of about 22,500/. They are exported chiefly to the United 



Kingdom, and this trade is rapidly increasing in importance, according to the 

following returns : — 

Tear. Number. Value. 

1876 No returns. 

1875 400,000 ,£8,889 

1874 365,518 8,122 

1873. 209,099* 4,356 

1872 207,299 3,111 

Further details respecting the lobster fishery in Norway will be found in 
Vice-Consul Crowe's Report on the fisheries for the year 1875. 

The oyster fishery, which was carried on along the whole Norwegian coast, 
and formerly with profitable results, has fallen off so considerably of late years 
as to be no longer considered of any value. 

No laws relative to the crab fishery have as yet been passed by the Nor- 
wegian Parliament. 

I have, &c. 
(Signed) Henry M. Jones, 
Consul General. 
The Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, &c, &c. 



ENCLOSURE. 

Translation. 

Law for the Preservation of Lobsters. 
Malmo, June 29th, 1848. 
We, Oscar, by the Grace of God, King of Norway and Sweden, &c, &c. 
Make known, that before us has been laid the resolution passed by the 
present assembled Storthing on the 9th May this year, to the effect following : — 

1. It is prohibited to catch or sell lobsters between the 15th of July and the 
end of the following September. 

2. The term of the above prohibition can be limited in different districts by 
the King's authority. Application to this effect must be sent through the 
local officers of such district. The prohibition must, however, in every case 
be enforced during the whole of the month of August. 

3. Any person taking or selling lobsters during the period prohibited 
according to paragraphs 1 and 2, will be liable to a penalty of 24 skillingsf 
for each lobster illegally sold or caught. 

4. Cases arising from violations of the above regulations will be judged by 
the police courts. Whenever anyone is denounced for such offence the police 
or county magistrate is to inquire if the offender agree to pay the fine, the 
amount of the same being notified to him at the time by said official -, if 
so, the said fine shall, in the event of his being unable to pay, be recovered 
by execution. If, on the other hand, he deny the charge, and refuse to 
pay the fine, the said official shall duly investigate the charge and try it 
before the Court. 

The fines recovered will be divided equally between the informer and the 
local Poor Board. 

5. From eight days after the commencement of the prohibited term until 
eight days after the expiration of the same, it is likewise prohibited to export 
lobsters to foreign countries. Infringements of or attempts to infringe the 
above regulations will be punished in accordance with the Customs law of the 
26th September 1845, on the subject of smuggling prohibited goods. 

6. This law will come into force on the 1st January next year. 

As we have accepted and confirmed, so do we now accept and confirm this 
as a law. 

Given at Malmo, 29th June 1848. Under our hand and Seal of the 
Realm. 

Oscar. (l.s.) 

* Sic in original : but there is apparently an error in copying ; the figures should be 294,099; 
Vide Report (England and Wales), p. XIV. ante. 
t (10id.) 



JOINT APPENDIX No. II. 



Natural History of Crabs and Lobsters. — By Frank 
Buckland, Esq. 

Having obtained during the late inquiry, and by other investigations, some 
additions to the general knowledge of the natural history of Crabs * and 
Lobsters, my Colleagues have agreed that I should have the privilege of 
putting these facts together in a consecutive form, with a view of elucidating 
the accompanying report. 

Crabst and lobsters may be said to correspond with insects, and to do much Anatomy of crabs 
the same duties in the water as insects perform on land. Linnaeus formerly 
included the crab, lobster, and crayfish with Arachnidas or spiders, under the 
general division of insects. Even now a certain kind of crab, the " Skerry," 
or " Corwick " of Cornwall (Maia Squinado), is called the " Spider Crab " or 
the " Thornback Spider." 

As a watch case contains much delicate and complicated machinery, so does 
the back shell or carapace of crabs and lobsters contain many highly com- 
plicated and wondrous structures. Thus in the crab, we can see by dissection 
the membrane which lines the carapace and covers the viscera, the large and 
powerful heart, two sets of arteries, the gills or lungs, the mouth, the stomach, 
the convoluted intestines, and the very large liver. The lobster is somewhat 
similar in its anatomy. 

The general appearance of a crab or lobster when walking at his leisure is 
very insect-like. In the] crab and lobster the skeleton is external ; they have 
no bones at all ;{in fact they may be said to live inside their skeleton, or, if you 
please, to be " Natural armour-clads," the joints in their harness being beauti- 
fully adapted for offence and defence. This covering is composed of the skin 
more or less hardened. This " dermo skeleton," when once complete, under- 
goes little or no further change. It is adapted to the increasing size of the 
body by being periodically cast and entirely renewed at such periods as the 
body grows too large for its case : in fact crabs and lobsters grow by 
*' moulting " their shells. % 

If the claw of a lobster be placed in strong nitric acid, a great effervescence Composition 
takes place; this is caused by the solution of the phosphate and carbonate of ° she11, 
lime of the dermo-skeleton in the nitric acid. In the lobster there is 60 per 
cent, of carbonate of lime, and 14 per cent, of phosphate of lime. The animal 
must, of course, secrete these mineral matters from the sea water. The shell 
of the crab is not quite so readily soluble in nitric acid as the shell of the 
lobster. When the nitric acid has done its work, and the effervescence has 
ceased, the lobster's claw is found to be quite soft and flexible, like a wetted 
glove finger, though still retaining its original shape. This substance, (the 
skeleton of the animal), is composed of Chytine, the horn-like substance which 
forms the elytra of insects. The firm horn-like covering of the wing of a cock- 
chafer, is a good example of Chytine. I have examined the new and soft skin 
of a crab which has just cast its shell ; it is about the consistence of thin brown 
paper, and when burnt smells somewhat like horn. In fact this new skin 
corresponds to an old skin out of which the earthy materials have been 
dissolved by nitric acid. 

The skeleton of the crab has been described as being composed of three 
ayers : the epidermis or cuticle, the rete mucosum or pigment, and the corium. 

* In Scotland crabs are called partans. 

t The crab has been promoted to form one of the signs of the zodiac. He represents the 
month of June, because when the sun has come to this constellation he begins to go back- 
wards after the manner of a crab. The crab thus got his promotion : when Hercules was 
fighting against the Lernaeau hydra, a crab came out of the marshes and bit his foot ; and 
Juno promoted him to be a constellation among the stars. 

% See further remarks on this, pp. 10, 11, and 19. 



4 



Lobsters turn 
red in boiling 
water. 



The epidermis is horny, and has feather-like hairs on certain portions of its 
surface. The rete mucosum consists generally of pigmental matter diffused 
through a certain thickness of the calcareous layer upon the corium; the 
strength of the shell depends upon the calcareous material deposited in it,* 

Microscopally examined, the corium is found, in the crab, to be traversed by 
parallel tubuli (like those of the dentine of teeth), giving off lateral branches 
at certain regular distances. The best examples of the dentine-like structure 
will be found in the black portion of the large claws. 

When lobsters are boiled, their armour-like coats turn red ; the coats of 
crabs do not turn red with boiling. There is much doubt as to the cause of 
this sudden change of colour by heat ; but, as far as I can ascertain, it takes 
place in consequence of the decomposition of a peculiar substance which leaves 
a red-coloured oil in a free state. This red-coloured oil does not appear after 
contact with cold water, but appears instantly under the action of boiling water, 
and gradually under the action of water slowly heated. It is highly interesting 
to^observe the bright carmine hues running like a fire-work all over the coat, and 
especially the eggs, of a dead lobster when water at 212° is poured upon it. 
The beautiful colour which appears in the egg of the lobster is one of the 
unfortunate reasons why so many millions of lobster eggs are so wastefully 
consumed every year as a garnish for the white-coated turbot, or for fish sauce. 
I have ascertained that spirits of wine has, as well as boiling water, the power 
of changing the shell of the lobster and its eggs to this bright colour. It is 
curious to observe that the eggs of a crab before it is boiled are of a red 
colour, and they do not change their colour when boiling. 

When a horizontal section of one of the thin plates of an unboiled lobster's 
tail is placed under the microscope a distinct hexagonal network can be seen, 
This is found to be due to the presence of some innumerable granules of 
calcareous matter which are in some places so angular as to lead me to believe 
they are crystals of carbonate of lime. 

When a vertical section of a lobster which has been boiled is examined under 
the microscope, both vertical and horizontal striae will be seen, the vertical 
strise being the largest. The red colour can be distinctly seen not to be 
contained in cells, but to consist of a finer and more compact tissue than the 
other parts and to have the colouring matter equally diffused through it. 
The reason why lobsters turn red when boiled and crabs do not turn red 
requires further investigation both by chemists and microscopists. 

Crabs and lobsters contain much phosphorus ; the following table shows — 



Chemical com- The Chemical Composition of the Edible Parts of the Lobster. 

position of flesh 

of lobster. 



— 


Flesh. 


Soft Internal 
Matter. 


Spawn. 


Nitrogenous matter - 
Fatty matter - 
Mineral matter - 
Non-nitrogenous matter and loss 
Water - 


19-170 
1-170 
1-823 
1-219 

76*618 


12-140 
1-444 
1-749 
0-354 

84-313 


21-892 
8-234 
1-998 
4-893 

62-983 




100-000 100-000 


100-000 




! 



That phosphorus exists in large quantities in lobsters may easily be proved. 
A lobster in hot weather, when it ceases to be fresh, asoumes a highly phospho- 
rescent appearance when seen in the dark, equal, if not superior, to that of a glow- 
worm or luminous centipede. This light increases by friction. Once in my life I 
was called on to exorcise a ghost, which appeared in a phosphorescent form. The 
ghost turned out to be a mass of bits of lobster and lobster shells thrown away into 
a dark corner by the college cook. This phosphorescent appearance is probably 



* See Catalogue, Royal College of Surgeons, 
Association, 1844 and 1847. 



'■ Histology," and Carpenter's Reports to British 



caused by the chemical changes in the organic tissues, when life is no longer 
present to resist the ordained agency of decay and decomposition ; in fact it is a 
slow combustion by combination with oxygen. Decayed wood is also some- 
times luminous. On a railway in North Wales I discovered a wooden sleeper 
which at night was highly phosphorescent. 

The presence of phosphorus in the lobster is of great importance to the con- 
sumers of these sea luxuries : there is no substance which conveys phosphorus 
so readily into the human system in an agreeable form, and which the system 
so readily and quickly assimilates, as the flesh of crabs and lobsters. For this 
reason lobsters, crabs, and oysters should form the diet of those engaged in 
business or arduous literary pursuits, where there is much wear and tear of 
the brain-powers, and where an extra supply of phosphorus is required for the 
food of the brain. It is for this reason, I imagine, that lobsters and crabs are 
generally eaten and most esteemed for supper. The brain towards night begins 
to feel a little exhausted ; the lobster, crab, or oyster quickly supplies the 
want, and the system immediately feels the effect. 

The structure and faculties of crabs and lobsters are very wonderful and 
perfectly fitted by the Creator to the duties they have to perform. 

The mouth of the crab is very complicated. In the crab I find there are Mouth and 
immediately under the eyes no less than six distinct pairs of moveable doors, stomacn of cra ^« 
valves or lips ; some of these are subservient to the mouth, some to the breathing 
organs ; all are worked by their own separate sets of muscles. Having dissected 
away, one by one, these doors, which are highly complicated structures and 
thickly covered at their margins with short stubby hairs, we finally arrive at 
two very sharp teeth. In a crab measuring 8 inches across the back, the teeth 
are nearly three quarters of an inch across ; they are very much the shape of a 
human nail. Their external edge is sharp and chisel like, and on the interior 
aspect of the teeth is found a hard projection of glass-like enamel ; these two 
powerful teeth are set on a very beautiful hinge. When a crab shell is opened 
two tendon-like bodies are perceived among the viscera. These tendon-like 
bodies, resembling the "leaders" of a turkey's leg, are inserted into the 
teeth so |as to work them with very great power. The teeth themselves are 
fixed on to a framework of great strength and hardness. These teeth are 
incisors not grinders. The tooth of a large crab when dissected out of the 
body is nearly as large as the incisor of a calf, and much resembles it in 
general contour. Place the two thumb nails together, imagine them to be teeth 
working one against the other, and you will have a good model of a crab'.s 
incisor-teeth. Immediately behind the teeth come the oesophagus, and the 
stomach. This is composed of a framework between which a soft, highly 
elastic membrane or stomach is spread, capable of containing much or 
little food. In this stomach are seen three large teeth ; these are powerful 
mill-stone grinders. The longest of these teeth are situate at the bottom of 
the stomach. A tooth is situated one or either side. Their surfaces are 
corrugated, much resembling the pattern we find in the tooth of an Indian 
(not African) elephant. These teeth are worked by two strong wire-like 
tendons, of which, in fact, they form the terminations, and are no doubt power- 
ful masticating and crushing organs ; this is proved by the fact that the fish 
bones found inside a crab's stomach are always very much comminuted. In 
their digestive apparatus the Crustacea, which are all carnivorous, resemble the 
predaceous insects in the shortness and simplicity of the alimentary canal. The 
liver in the crab is highly developed. In a good dressed crab the liver or 
" cream " forms the best part of the dish. 

The sense of smell is probably highly developed. The crab has not long Organs of smell 
antennae like the lobster ; it has, however, two small horns near the angle of each in cral3, 
eye, also two large horns in the middle of the forehead ; these are, I conclude, 
somehow connected with the sense of taste and smell. That the faculty of smell 
is probably highly developed may be inferred from their habits ; because, when 
the pots are put down by the fishermen to catch them, they are known to come 
to the pots for food, from a considerable distance round ; " The strongest 
" smelling bait and the highest coloured has the preference. The white hound 
" is preferred by fishermen because of its smell," one witness informed us. 
This sense of smell may account for the fact that small fisheries are more 
readily fished out than large fisheries. Moreover, crabs are scavengers, and 
therefore the sense of smell is highly valuable to them. In terrestrial animals, 
40353. O 



6 

which act as scavengers, we find the sense of smell highly developed ; a good 
example can be found in the blue bottle fly and the dung beetle. 

The organs of sight are also very keen : the structure of the eye* is very 
insect-like : the eye of the dragon fly much resembles the eye of the crab. 

This structure of the crab's eye and his sense of smell, will, I fancy, account 
for the fact that crabs are caught in the greatest quantities when the water is 
muddy and thick. Crabs under these circumstances " crawl the best." Crabs 
and lobsters also, having gone in the pots at night, will come out of them at 
sunrise if the pots are not drawn up, because they see they are in a trap. 

Lungs of crab. The breathing apparatus of the crab is very complicated and very wonderful. 

In the case of fishes the animal has to breathe water by means of gills ; land 
animals have to breathe the air by means of lungs ; neither of these can change 
places without death. But the crabs and lobsters being littoral or shore 
animals, and being liable to be left high and dry by the tide, require lungs 
that can actually breathe both in air and water. The seal, porpoise, crocodile, 
hippotamus, &c, though passing most of their lives in water, breathe air, and 
have apparatus for so doing. The crab, on the contrary, breathes both air and 
water. The lungs consist of a series of tufts of very delicate membranes 
which are pyramidal in shape ; of these there are eight on each side. These 
sets of eight lungs are packed away as it were in a watertight box. The 
water therefore passes through them without interfering or coming in contact 
with any of the other viscera. This is a most beautiful structure, not yet 
imitated by any design of man. The inner side of this compartment consists 
of a firm box, made of the same substance as the shell ; the outside is a 
beautiful, delicate, elastic, expansive, membrane, and is like gold beaters' skin 
in structure, When in good health respiration is kept up by means of a con- 
stant stream passing through this lung-containing chamber. The water enters 
through an aperture which I find is situated immediately under the tail. It 
makes its exit through a slit in the neighbourhood of the mouth, where it is 
regulated by the action of a curious valve-like structure, which is connected 
with the mouth. But this is not all : extending along the whole length of 
these eight finger-like lungs is a delicate curved whalebone-like filament (the 
flabellum) lined on each side with delicate hairs, forming, in fact, a delicate 
brush; this fits accurately on to the lungs. I find this whalebone-like 
filament is fastened to and worked by the great door, the first of the numerous 
doors at the crab's mouth, and which can be seen in perpetual motion, like the 
gills of a fish when the crab is breathing. The probable use of this beautiful 
mechanism is to keep up a gentle pressure upon the complicated lung 
structure, and regulate the flow of water to it. There is also a valve which 
will keep the water in the lung box, as a cork keeps the fluid in a bottle. 
, If it were not for this structure the crab could not five equally well in the 
water and in the air. I have reason to believe that when he leaves the water, 
either accidentally or of his own accord, there is always a certain quantity of 
water in the lung box, which keeps his gills moist. The bubbles proceeding 
from the lungs of a crab or lobster when gradually dying out of water, indi- 
cate that the air in the lung box is becoming vitiated, and a further supply 
is required, also that the gill tufts are becoming adherent to each other, as 
may be observed in the gills of a dead fish. These gill tufts in the crab and 
lobster are popularly considered poison, and are called " dead men's fingers." 

Varieties of crab. It is an undoubted fact that crabs are much larger in some places than in 
others ; the largest crabs are found on the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, 
between the Start and the Lizard. These are sent as far as the Edinburgh 
market. The crabs on the north-east coast of England are small crabs. The 
north-east coast of Scotland does not produce large crabs. At Dunbar they 
run small, and are known in the market as "Dunbar bugs." The largest 
crabs are caught at Start Point in Devonshire. The largest Cornish crabs 
are 11 to 12 inches across the back, and weigh from 11 to 12 pounds.f Mr. 
Cornish of Penzance has seen a crab weighing over 12 pounds. Large 

* Crabs' eyes, as used in the Pharmacopoeia of olden times, are rounded calcareous secretions 
found on the sides of the stomach of crayfish. These substances are supposed to act as reser- 
voirs for the lime required by the animal to grow a new shell. They were said to be an 
antacid, a cure for gout. At the present day a substitute for them, composed of carbonate of 
lime, is used principally for cleaning plate. 

t Mr. Laughrin, of Polperro, says 14 to 16 lbs. 



cock crabs are common in the early months of the year in the London 
markets. At Flamborongh the largest crabs are only 7 inches, and at 
Scarborough a 6-inch, crab is a good crab. It is certain therefore that there 
are two kinds of crabs, a large sort and a small sort — by analogy " Pony crabs " 
and " Horse crabs " — and that the smaller kind will never exceed a certain 
dimension ; the cause of this difference in size is probably temperature — the 
Cornish coast being within the influence of the Gulf stream, as shown by the 
vegetation and other natural products, and the sea on the east coast being as 
cold as any part of the North Sea, and therefore unfavourable to the growth 
of crabs. Mr. Spence Bate considers that Cornwall, where the largest crabs 
are taken, is the central habitat of the species (see Evidence, England and 
Wales, p. 57), 

A kind of black crab is caught in Mount's Bay. These crabs, as at Scilly, 
are small, black, light, and not fit to take ; and a small sort of crab is found 
in a place near Plymouth breakwater; they are never large there; it is 
possible that this is simply a breeding place (vide Evidence, England and Wales, 

Small kinds of lobsters are also caught at Scarborough. Bridlington Quay, 
in Yorkshire, may also be said to be a nursery for crabs ; as many as 300 little 
crabs are sometimes caught there in one night. 

Crabs are migratory in their habits. They especially resemble insects, inas- Migrations of 
much as they are most lively in warm weather ; they approach the shore in sum- craljs - 
mer time. Witnesses at various places gave the following evidence on this point : 
— " On the 9th May 1876, crabs and lobsters came in in good quantities. On 
" the 16th they came in in nice quantities. On the 31st he had three dozen 
" very fine fish. On the 2nd June he had two dozen and four. On the 8th 
" of June one-and-a-half dozen. On the 12th June two-and-a-half dozen. 
" On the 15th June one dozen and a score. A dozen lobsters is 13. Twenty- 
" six half crabs make a dozen." 

Another witness said, " Begins fishing in March, looking for cock crabs. 
" The cold in the spring keeps back the hen crabs. When the warm weather 
" comes he looks for hen crabs and catches fewer cocks. After the hen crabs 
" get scarcer, in August and September, he looks out for crayfish." 

" The crab and lobster fishery ceases from the middle of August to the 
" middle of March, when they are migrating." 

" Crabs and lobsters came to a certain ground near the Longships, and were 
" as thick as possible, even when the fishermen left off fishing in September. 
" When the fishermen went back in March and April to look for them they 
" were all gone." 

"It is useless to set the pots before April. In October they (the crabs) 
" draw off into deeper water." 

" The crabs come in from the deep water. They come some years in March, 
" some in April, but this depends on the weather. They crawl best in April 
" and May." 

One witness produced a " chart of sea-bottom adjacent to Banff, Macduff, 
" and Whitehills, showing that in the autumn months the crabs are three miles 
" from land, and in the summer months, May to August, near the land for 
"shelling." 

"Female crabs are caught by trawlers in early part of the year,' February 
" and March, 6 to 18 miles from the shore." 

" In the spring of the year no large she crabs are seen, but in the summer 
" they are caught" 

" Crabs and lobsters come towards the shore in warm weather, and bury 
" themselves in the winter." 

" Crabs and lobsters will not crawl in hard frosty weather." 

Crabs will foretell the weather 24 hours beforehand, and will not move when Crabs and 
a storm is coming on. Warm, rainy weather with westerly winds, is good for weather, 
catching crabs. During the easterly winds the crabs are inferior, and no big 
ones are to be caught; night is the most favourable time to catch them. 
Crabs "crawl best" after a heavy ground swell, which is called a " crab swell." 
The reason probably is that the bottom of the sea is disturbed, and the crabs 
are thus enabled to get worms and other food. Hot weather is necessary for 
crab fishing. Thick water in day time and clear water at night is the best time 
for fishing. The moon makes very little difference. 

o 2 



Habitat of crabs. Crabs and lobsters inhabit somewhat similar localities at the bottom of the 
sea. Crabs, however, affect the sandy plateaux rather than the rocks them- 
selves. The large crabs live on rocky bottoms, the smaller crabs on stony 
and sandy bottoms. On the coast of Cornwall large lobsters are caught in the 
very deep crevices far among the rocks, which are called " pills." If the pot 
slips into a deep crevasse large lobsters are nearly sure to be caught. 
Crabs travelling. Crabs are very fast walkers when on the march. They progress, as it were, 
on tip-toe, supporting their heavy carriage-like bodies by means of their eight 
legs, each of which is terminated by a spike. It is difficult to follow the 
movements of their eight legs, more difficult than to follow the movement of 
the four legs of ahorse. The eight jointed legs, each with its spike, enable 
the crabs to climb among the rocks like great spiders. 

Crabs also are travellers, as proved by the following cases : — 

Mr. Howard Fox informed us that "A small trading craft was taking 
" shell-fish from Mullion to Plymouth, and she sank off Fowey. Shortly 
" afterwards a fisherman at Mullion caught some of the identical crabs in his 
" pots at Mullion, at distance of over 40 miles. He knew the crabs were the 
" same he had previously captured, because he tied their claws with a peculiar 
" knot, and the knots were still on them. Other instances of this kind have 
" happened in this neighbourhood." 

Mr. Henry Lee writes : — A very singular instance of a lobster finding its 
way back to its former habitat came to my knowledge some time ago. The 
stock box belonging to a fishmonger was overturned during a heavy gale, 
and the fastenings broken by the force of the sea. Notwithstanding that 
the prisoners confined in it had their claws bound together with twine to 
prevent their damaging each other, they all made their escape. Some were 
recaptured, and one of them, which was recognised by his having a broken 
" thumb " to one of his claws, was taken six days afterwards three miles from 
the scene of the accident, and within a few yards of the hole where he was 
originally caught. The string was still tightly secured both to his large claws, 
so that he could not have used them on his journey. 

Mr. Laughrin, the coastguard officer at Polperro, in Cornwall, informed us 
that "crabs go from place to place, and sometimes travel 10, 12, or 14 miles. 
" Some crabs got out of a store pot, and he found them again over seven miles 
" out at sea in a few days." 

Again, Mr. Climo, of Polruan, stated that crabs had been marked and 
found two miles east of the harbour in about a week; they were known 
because they were " nicked crabs." 

On 16th October another witness marked the backs of a few crabs with 
the initials W W and put them back inshore. On 27th November these crabs 
were caught again two miles seaward. 
Crabs in deep In the winter time the crabs retire from the shallow water to the deep sea. 

They are there picked up by the trawl nets in considerable numbers during 
the cold rough weather. I fancy they hybernate, (insect-like again,) burying 
themselves in the sand. 

In December last I received a deep-sea crab from Dr. Norman, of Yarmouth. 
It was a she crab caught by Mr. James Burgess, fishing master. He states that 
many large crabs are taken by trawlers in the North Sea fishery, 80 miles east 
of Grimsby. During the winter months the depth of water is about 30 
fathoms on an average. Nearly 500 crabs are taken in the voyage of eight 
weeks by trawlers. Most of those caught out at sea have lost a claw. Some 
of them are very large and covered with barnacles. A somewhat similar in- 
stance of crabs being found m the deep-sea can be found at page 46 of the 
Evidence (England and Wales). As the spring comes on, the crabs approach 
the shore, arriving from their winter quarters in the deep sea. 
Sexes of crabs. The sexes of crabs are easily distinguished. Thus a male crab has a small 

narrow tail, whereas a female has a very broad tail, which is called the apron. 
In two crabs of exactly the same size across, the tail of the male crab measured 
seven eighths of an inch across, while that of the female measured two 
inches and one eighth across, see Diagram No. 7. The tail of the female 
is marginated with hair ; the tail of the male has no hair. The difference of 
the size of the tail in the two sexes can be seen from the engraving. Female 
crabs are called by the following names : Queens, Humps, Ran Hens, Seeding 
Hens, Doup Crabs, Pouch Crabs. The claws of the female are smaller 



9 

than those of the male. This of itself is a good diagnostic point besides the 
broad tail. The shell of the female is more convex than that of the male, 
the male shell being nearly flat. On the underside of the apron or tail of the 
female crab are seen a series of eight finger-like processes ; these finger-like 
processes are double, are attached at their base, and are movable. In a 
crab which is not in spawn, these projections are trimmed on each side with a 
delicate hair-like substance, in general appearance not unlike the feather of a 
quill pen. It is to these silken substances that the eggs are attached. In 
the crab, curiously enough, no eggs are attached to the outer finger of each 
pair of fingers, but only to the inner, by means of these hairs extending 
on each side ; the outer fingers form a kind of nest for the protection of 
the eggs, see Diagram No. 8. 

A crab carries eight bunches of eggs under her tail. These eggs are of a Eggs of cra&s. 
beautiful red colour, even when unboiled, and perfectly globular ; they are not 
unlike very minute herring roe. They are attached to the feathers by means *)f 
a very delicate but strong'fibre, like very fine silk-worm gut, see Diagram No. 8. 
When floating in the water they appear to be, as it were, threaded together like 
beads in a necklace. From a calculation made by my secretary, Mr. Searle, it 
appears that there are 180,180 eggs in one bunch of crab's eggs ; therefore there 
must be no less than 1,441,440 eggs on the eight bunches of one crab. Mr. 
Spence Bate, F.R.S., found in one she crab 2,000,000 ova. Previous to 
spawning, the eggs are contained or carried immediately under the shell, 
occupying at least one third of the whole space. This mass of eggs almost 
fills the shell. (See coloured cast in my museum.) The eggs are carried inside 
the shell for nine months before they are extruded ; in this condition they 
are called the coral. The coral crab is especially esteemed at Aberdeen. 

On bending back the tail of the crab two round apertures on the hard shell 
of the crab will be perceived. These* are covered with a drum-head-like 
elastic substance, which is perforated in the centre. When a crab is about 
to spawn these project. On passing a probe up these, it will be seen that 
a direct communication exists between these holes and the mass of coral 
under the shell. At the proper time of the year the eggs are extruded 
from within the shell and become attached, by the silky thread already 
mentioned, to the feather-like processes. How this attachment takes place 
and how the eggs are transferred from inside the crab's body to the apron, I 
am unable to say. It is, however, probably effected by means of the eight 
ambulatory legs, which arrange the eggs as they are extruded from 
the ovaries; the exact manner in which it is done I am unable to say, 
but hope to find out by means of that valuable sea laboratory, the Brighton 
Aquarium. 

A crab may be said to be marsupial ; she carries her eggs inside her body up 
to a certain point; they are then deposited under this pouch. The reason of 
this externa] gestation is obvious ; the embryo inside the egg requires water to 
bring it to life. As, in the salmon, the young creature is not developed in the 
egg for some time after its extrusion from the mother, so the mother-crab 
carries about her eggs till the eyes of the embryo are developed in the egg, 
and the young ones subsequently bursting the shell of the egg assume an 
undeveloped existence as Zoea. When the eggs of the crab first appear under 
the tail they are perfectly transparent. I have on one occasion examined the 
eggs of a crab ; in each egg the eye of the embryo was distinctly visible; these 
eggs would have shortly hatched out. According to Mr. Spence Bate the 
horny shells of the eggs remain attached to the feathers of the tail when the 
embryo escapes, and when the female sheds her shell she also sheds the husks 
of the eggs. The London merchants brush out all the spawn from the fea- 
thers under the tail. 

The crab when first escaping from the egg is not by any means a perfect Young of crabs, 
shape. It is, indeed, very unlike a crab, and the young zoea until lately 
were considered a distinct genus. " On leaving the egg," says Professor 
" Rymer Jones,f the young crab presents a curious and grotesque figure; 
" its body is hemispherical, and its back prolonged upwards into a horn-like 

* One witness told me that these were the teats of the crabs, and that the young ones sucked 
from them, 
t "General Outline of the Organization of the Animal Kingdom." 



10 



Spawning of 
crabs. 



Crabs shedding 
their shells. 



" appendage ; the feet are scarcely visible with the exception of the last 
" two pairs, which are ciliated like those of a branchiopod, and formed 
" for swimming. The tail is longer than the body, possesses no false feet, 
" and the terminal joint is crescent-shaped and covered with long spines. 
" The eyes are|very large, and a long beak projects from the lower surface of 
" the head. 

" In a more advanced stage of growth the creature assumes a totally diffe- 
" ernt shape, under which form it has been known to naturalists by the name 
" of Megalopa. The eyes become pedunculated, the cephalothorax rounded, 
" the tail flat, and provided with false feet, and the chele and ambulatory extre- 
" mities well developed. 

" A subsequent moult gives it the appearance of a perfect crab, and then only 

does the abdomen become folded under the thorax and the normal form of 

the species recognisable." 

By the kindness of Mr. Henry Lee, F.L.S., I am enabled to give drawings of 
the crab in its early stages of transformation. Fig. 1 {see Diagram No. 5) 3 repre- 
sents the young crab just as he came out of the egg ; fig. 2 is the next form 
which it assumes previously to its becoming a perfect crab. These early forms 
of the Zoea crab are as unlike the parents as can possibly be conceived. The 
specimen figures were hatched under Mr. Lee's personal observations as 
Consulting Naturalist to the Brighton Aquarium. 

My own opinion agrees with that of Mr. Spence Bate, who says : — " The 
" berries will be exposed in January and carried till May ; soon after that the 
" berries are hatched, out .... In Mav the water is tinged with the young 
" Zoea." 

But berried crabs with ova under the apron may be obtained in December 
and January. Mr. Climo, of Polruan, stated : — " Once he had been fishing 
" in October, and had left some crabs in a store pot till after Christmas ; in 
" January every one was full of spawn. There were nine or ten crabs." 

Other evidence was given at various places to this effect : e. g. at Prawle : — 

"About December the she crabs are berried; they are berried in December, 
" January, and February." 

Mr. Harvey, a London fishmonger, said, " The hen crabs would have the 
berries under their tail in the beginning of December." 

It is the opinion of some that crabs spawn out at sea, i.e., that the young 
are hatched out at sea. I am not of that opinion. The mistake, I think, has 
arisen on the different interpretations of the word "spawning." This may 
mean 1st. Carrying eggs. 2nd. The time when the young are hatched. My 
belief is (as I have said before), that crabs spawn — in the sense of first 
appearing " berried " — out at sea, but the real hatching out takes place in the 
warm spring months near the shore. All young things require warmth and 
food. The young salmon are born in the spring, absorb their umbilical bag, 
and become active just at the time their insect food is most abundant. Most, 
I may say all, sea-fish fry are found in the spring, and I am, therefore, led to 
conclude that the young zoea come out of the eggs in the spring, when 
there are three things present for their comfort and to assist their growth — 
1, warmth; 2, quiet water ; 3, food. At that time both animal and vegetable 
life are just bursting forth into existence, and the food minute enough for the 
zoea to eat is at that time found in most abundance. In many parts of England 
the smallest crabs are found in May and June. 

Young birds are born in the spring for the same reasons. If young crabs 
were born out at sea in the winter time, the conditions would not be favourable 
for them. My statement is further confirmed by the fact that the very small 
crabs, the first real crab-like creature after the zoea state, are found on the 
foreshore in the shallow warm water in the spring time. 

As the crab is encrusted with a hardened and inelastic shell, composed of 
carbonate and phosphate of lime, and chytine, it is not able to grow like any 
other creature; it therefore periodically sheds its shell. I have a very fine 
specimen in my museum of a crab which I took myself at Heme Bay, where it 
is locally called a Punger, in the actual process of shedding its shell. The 
shell when about to be cast off is split along the underside of the body from the 
mouth to the tail. This line of division, I find, is plainly marked in the shell 
of a full-grown crab. 

It is not known how many times a year a crab sheds its shell. 



11 

The following evidence was given us. Mr. Matthias Dunn thinks '* crabs 
" shoot their shells at least once a year, and as often as they fill up. They 
" must cast their shells more than once in 1(> months to grow from 4 to 
" 8 inches across." Mr. John George, of Sennen, thinks, " crabs shoot their 
" shells once a year. Has found them every year in a certain hole with their 
" shells off in March and April." Mr. Laughrin, Polperro, stated "that large 
" crabs shed their shell twice a year; small ones every four or five months." 

Other witnesses informed us that " a crab of 4 inches would shed his shell 
" three times before he reached 8 inches." " Crabs are casting their shells 
" between end of August and end of November." "A crab of 44 inches is 
" about three years old." 

When a crab sheds his shell he sheds every part, not only of his external 
covering, but also of the skin covering his internal viscera, even the horny 
casings of his lung tufts. He also sheds the coating of his eye, and even the 
external covering of his large pincher-like teeth. The coat and teeth of the 
stomach are, I think, also shed, but I have not specimens to show this. When 
a crab sheds his shell he increases considerably in size. In the appendix will 
be seen a diagram showing the rapid increase in size at each growth! This 
remarkable specimen was presented to me by Mr. Sandford of Cromer. The 
crab had cast its shell in the crab pot, so that the empty shell and the crab 
itself were luckily quite perfect. The empty shell measures across three inches 
and seven eighths. The crab which came out of the shell measures no less 
than five inches, namely one inch and one eighth larger than it was a few 
minutes previously. I have ascertained for a fact that a crab is enabled to 
draw out his claws through the narrow opening of the point where the claw 
joins the body by the curious fact that the shell splits, just at this point. The 
shell of the lobster also cracks at this point. (See specimen in my museum.) 

When at Dunbar, Mr. Hutchinson was good enough to give me a live Lobster shedding 
lobster which had just cast its shell in a store-box ; the length of the lobster its slie11 ' 
shell was 7 inches, and the length of the new lobster was 8 inches. Mr. 
Hutchinson gives as evidence : — " It would be beneficial to everbody to return 
" lobsters to the sea under 4| inches in the barrel ; a lobster measuring 4 inches 
" to-day is worth 6d. ; each time it casts its shell it grows half an inch, so 
" that very soon it would be worth double the money. A lobster grows half an 
" inch in the barrel when it has shed its shell once." 

It is probable that when crabs arrive at an adult age, they will not shoot A £e ot crabs, 
their shell. The evidence 1 have of this is a male crab from the North Sea, 
measuring 6f inches across the back. Upon its back are two oysters. These 
oysters have adapted themselves to the contour of the crab's back; they 
measure respectively in the widest diameter about 3 inches. This individual 
crab had not, therefore, shed its shell for three years. I have also another crab 
which has one oyster attached to it. This crab (a female) is 7h inches across 
the back. This oyster shell measures 3 inches across. To both these specimens 
there are also large barnacles attached. I have also another specimen, presented 
by Mr. J. Wiseman, of a crab on which six oysters are fixed ; the upper surface 
of the crab is almost concealed by the oysters. This crab must have been in the 
middle of a heavy fall of oyster spat. I have also two specimens of the common 
spider orab of small size. On the back of one are attached no less than 10 
mussels, which I conclude are two years old ; the other crab has, attached to 
the lower surface of the claw, an oyster of about four months old, two other 
small oysters are attached to the lower surface of the crawling legs. 

Oysters do not very often attach themselves to lobsters. There is, however, 
a splendid specimen in the British Museum to which 20 oysters are attached. 
I calculate this lobster had not shed its shell for four or five years. 

It is, however, to be observed that the crow, anomia, or saddleback oysters, 
seem to be especially fond of adhering to the shells of lobsters. I do not know 
why this should be : the crow oysters only come from warm water ; when, there- 
fore, crows are found upon lobsters, it is quite certain that they inhabited places 
where the temperature was somewhat warm. 

Not only do crabs cast their shells, but they not unfrequently, from some 
cause or other, throw off their claws, and, strange to say, and it is interesting to 
know, that they will grow again. I have a specimen of a crab whose larger claw 
measures 12| inches long, and / inches in circumference at the largest part, while 



12 

the smaller claw measures 5 inches at the outside measurement, and 2 inches 
in circumference at the largest part. After a crab has shot his claw the wound 
is covered over with a firm cicatrix ; after a while the new limb appears from 
about the centre of this cicatrix ; at first it appears like the bud of a plant, it 
then assumes gradually larger dimensions, in its early stage much resembling 
the incipient graft of a tree. In Aberdeen market I saw a great many crabs' 
big claws sold separate without the crabs. I fear they take off the claws and 
return the crab to the sea clawless. 

At Newhaven, if a crab wants a claw, the fisherman has to give an extra 
crab to make up for it. About Anstruther small crabs are called Poults. 

It is probable that the female crab is impregnated by the male shortly after 
she has shed her shell, and when the shell is quite soft. 

Mr. Thomas Hutton, Custom House Officer, informed me when at Peter- 
head, that when the female crab becomes a peelert, that is a soft crab, which 
she does yearly in the end of the month July, and in August and September, 
the male crab, which does not cast its shell at this time, mates. 

At Hall Sands, Devon, we were informed that all soft crabs are called ripe 
crabs ; they are always accompanied by a male. 

Mr. H. Lee tells me that he has seen at the Brighton Aquarium the common 
shore crab mating, both being hard shelled, and that he has received evidence 
from fishermen at Poole, in Dorset, and elsewhere, that they have observed the 
same thing. 
Soft crabs. I now come to a very important subject indeed, viz., soft crabs. 

A soft crab may mean two different things. Firstly, it may mean a crab 
which has just cast its shell, and is soft to the touch, like putty, or it may 
mean a crab whose shell is very brittle, like thin glass. 

After the crab has cast its shell, the shell, wanting calcareous matter is very 
soft and elastic, like putty. At this time they retreat into concealment. As 
the shell hardens* the crab gradually assumes more consistency in its skin or 
shell. Crabs in this condition are called " soft crabs," " casters," "light-footed 
crabs," "light crabs," "white bellied crabs," "peelerts," "pullers," "meticks," 
" seeding crabs," "watery crabs," "white crabs," "ripe crabs," "pale crabs," 
"sheer, or sick crabs." I myself prefer to call them "glass crabs." These 
crabs have not recovered their condition after casting their shells, they are in 
fact " kelt " crabs. I have dissected several of these crabs, and find that they 
contain very little else but the stomach, liver, lungs, and other viscera, but 
always a great deal of water. 

A glass crab can always be told by pressing r the shell immediately under- 
neath the claws ; at a slight pressure, it splinters up like glass. At several 
fishing ports in Scotland I observed the bottom of the harbours covered with a 
very large number of dead crabs, with their shells broken, the fracture having 
been caused by the fishermen smashing the shell to see if they were good or 
not. The crab is generally killed by the operation, though in some cases it 
may possibly escape with its life. 

The following evidence was given by Mr. Robertson, a fish merchant of 
37 years' experience, at Dunbar. " The merchants will not take these soft 
" crabs. They are broken up by fishermen for bait or thrown dead into the 
" harbour, the fishermen having broken their shells with their thumbs. From 
" October to January if 1,000 crabs were caught 500 often would be soft, and 
" would be destroyed. A law should be made that soft crabs should not even 
" be brought ashore, they should be thrown over into the water at once 
" from the creels." 

Mr. J. Anderson, fishmonger, Edinburgh, writes me that "he has been 
" informed that the Dunbar fishermen select all the soft-shelled crabs, and 
" after smashing them on the shaft of the boat heave them into the sea ; when 
" asked their reason for so doing, their answer was, to prevent their coming 
" and eating the bait out of their creels. Now such wanton destruction of the 
" very best of the crabs is a disgrace to the community they belong to. My 
" informant says he has seen ten dozen (120) cast into the sea in one day. 
" It is a well-known fact that it is only crabs above two years old that cast 
" their shells, so that the best of the crabs are destroyed." 

* Take portions of the shell and put them into nitric acid. The shell of the soft crab 
effervesces much less than that of the crab with the hardened shell. 



L3 

At Scarborough wc observed several soft or glass oralis exposed for sale in a 
fishmonger's shop, and five soft crabs in a basket on the quay. 

Mr. Sellers, fish merchant, Scarborough, stated: — "Many soft crabs are 
" taken in the trawl nets from October to March, and in July and August. 
" One out of four of these soft crabs are not saleable and not eatable. There is 
w no difficulty in distinguishing between alight crab and a full crab even in 
" the water. Is in favour of returning them to the water." 

A section of the claw of a soft glass or light crab will show that the meat has 
shrunk away from the shell, whereas in the full crab the meat completely fills 
up the shell of the claws. 

Mr. W. Paul stated in evidence, — " Crabs are not used as bait when they are Crabs used for 
" in good order, they are too valuable. The claws of crabs in November are bait ' 
" soft and watery. Thinks that the wanton destruction of crabs unfit for food 
is the cause of scarcity. Even in October when crabs are in good condition, 
" the claws are sent to market and the bodies used as bait. The body of the 
" male crab is rarely sent to market, it is retained for bait, and the claws alone 
** are sent to market. Both the claws and body of the female crab are sent to 
" market." 

At North Sunderland we heard from Mr. Robson : " The light crabs come 
" in about November. Sometimes they are hove away, but sometimes they 
" are so soft that they float, and cannot get to the bottom. Thinks it is a great 
" waste to destroy the soft crabs." 

At Beadnell we heard: " In every day when he began fishing (in October) 
" there were from 10 to 50 crabs in every net ; and in some nets all the crabs 
" were bad ; the great majority were soft. Only got one barrel of crabs out 
" of the whole take. This ought not to be allowed." 

Another fisherman stated that he " Gets a great many soft crabs. Thinks this 
" a very great waste. lb would be a good thing to stop the waste." 

I consider that having ascertained that such vast numbers of these glass 
crabs with brittle shells (which as we see from the above have many names) 
are annually destroyed throughout the country, the Legislature should at 
once put a stop to the practice. As the Salmon Fisheries have been greatly 
benefited by preserving the kelfc or unclean salmon, so most assuredly would 
the crab fisheries be benefited by preserving the glass or soft crabs from 
wanton destruction. These crabs are of no use, except sometimes as bait to 
the fishermen. They bring discredit on the wholesale and retail dealers, while 
to the public they are worthless, if not unwholesome as food. My colleagues 
and myself quite agree that these kind of crabs should be preserved. There 
are, however, legal difficulties in the way which I trust may be overcome by 
those whose special duty it is to frame the laws of England. By making it 
illegal to kill glass or light crabs, in my opinion the crab fisheries of this 
country would be more benefited than by any other enactment. 

As crabs and lobsters are only caught in pots, their stomachs are in con- Food of crabs, 
sequence full of the bait which is used to entice them into these pots. They 
are in their habits almost purely fish eaters. This is proved by the readi- 
ness with which they go into the pots to get at the bait. They may also 
eat mussels and limpets, cracking them with their pincher-like claw. The 
following fish are used for bait : skate, cod, codlings, whiting flounders, 
gurnards, bibs, rays, wrasse, plaice, soles, gurnet, sharks, dog-fish, spider crabs, 
or corwicks, haddock's heads, and cuttle fish. The head of the fish is generally 
put into the pots ; the eye of a dead fish is said to attract the crabs. 

The fishermen break up crabs to catch wrasse, but not to catch crabs, though Bait for crabs 
crabs are probably cannibals. In some places the crab is called the king of andl obsters. 
the sea. 

The strongest smelling baits and the highest coloured baits have the 
preference. The whitehound, on account of its scent, is preferred by the 
fishermen. 

It is a strange thing that lobsters seem to be attracted by colour. Richard 
Little, East Looe, stated, "that he generally keeps gurnards pickled in brine. 
" It is necessary to keep the colours bright, because lobsters seem attracted by 
" colour." 

Neither crabs nor lobsters will go into the pots unless there is some scent in 
the fish bait. The crabs are very particular as to diet, they will not eat stale 
fish. Lobsters will eat any kind of bait, even dried fish or stock fish; they 



14 

will even take a stinking bait. Fish is so necessary as bait for crabs and 
lobsters that the fishermen are sometimes obliged to break up the young of the 
edible common crab to catch larger crabs. Crabs are also used as bait on 
lines, especially in places where mussels and limpets are scarce. 

The fishermen are in most instances aware that they are acting unwisely 
in breaking up crabs for bait. William Prynne, East Looe, stated, " com- 
" mon sense leads the fisherman to spare the small crabs at all times except 
" when they are required as bait. The fisherman agree with him that when 
" the hookers have done fishing bait is very scarce, and that under these 
" circumstances it is absolutely necessary to break up small crabs to catch 
" wrasse, which are used to catch lobsters. The Looe men have sufficient sense 
" to return the small crabs at all other times of the year." 

If a law prohibiting crabs for bait were made, it would press very hard upon 
the old people. Crabs are also used for bait, not only for the long lines, but 
for the haddock lines. The hooks are baited with crabs, bullock's liver, and 
mussels. The evidence at Muchalls was that every third hook in the long 
lines is baited with crabs. Mussels are very costly in some parts of the 
country. They are nearly 3/. a ton before they are delivered at Stonehaven ; 
the principal supply of mussels is from Boston Deeps, the mouth of the Tees, 
the mouth of the Clyde, &c. 
Enemies of crabs Nature has laid down for land animals the great law of " eat and be 
and lobsters. eaten." We find that this law applies also to the animals which live in the 
sea. The enemies of the crab and lobster may be divided into animate and 
inanimate. 

"Among the inanimate we find firstly storms. The evidence at Peter- 
head goes to show that a great many crabs are killed during January and 
February, and in fact throughout the year, by storms. The occasional storms 
of July and August probably have the effect of destroying large numbers of 
crabs when they are soft. A. witness at Penzance stated that the storm which 
occurred in 1873 was very bad for that time of year, and crabs have disap- 
peared ever since. A witness at John O'Groats stated that coarse weather has 
been worse than usual. During the last four or five years the storms have 
destroyed many spawning places. 
Pollutions. Crabs do not suffer like river fish from pollutions, but still they are. not 

entirely exempt from the consequences of placing waste material into the 
water. Thus at Cullercoats we learnt that a vast quantity of dredgings from 
the bed of the Tyne ships, ballast and alkali refuse (most bluebilly) has been 
brought down by barges called hoppers and deposited at the mouth of the 
Tyne. Five hundred thousand tons of rubbish are thus deposited in the sea 
in the course of one year. This has been going on for 20 years. No less than 
ten million tons must have thus been deposited in the sea outside the Tyne. 
This vast accumulation of foreign and noxious matter must necessarily have 
greatly interfered with the natural habitat and comfort of the crab and 
lobster. 

A similar case of pollution occurs at Plymouth ; barges coming from the oil 
of vitriol stores shoot their refuse outside the breakwater. The refuse from 
these is white like mud ; it is probably waste lime. 

Throughout the neighbourhood of Peterhead and Fraserburgh an idea 
prevails that the lobsters and crabs were all destroyed by tobacco. A ship 
with a cargo of tobacco was wrecked about 40 years ago at Kirkton Head, 
three miles north of Peterhead. 

Before the wreck occurred it was usual to catch four or five lobsters in a 
ring. When the wreck occurred they were thrown up in cartloads on the 
shore, and the fishery has been very poor ever since. This tobacco pollution 
might have taken effect at the time, but I do not think it could have been 
permanent. 

Among the animate enemies the principal enemy I believe are cod. A 
witness at Burghead stated that " codfish are great enemies to lobsters ; he 
" hardly ever opens a cod without finding young lobsters in the stomach ; this 
<f is particularly in February and March. Has seen cod throwing up lobsters on 
" the deck of a vessel, as many as five or six lobsters in one cod. These lobsters 
" would be three or four inches in length, or even smaller. Cod eat lobsters all 
" the season. In the spring and in January, February, and March there are 
" many cod about." 



15 

Skates and congers, and codling and haddock, also cat crabs and lobsters. 
Both crabs and lobsters when in a soft condition seek concealment, as though 
they were aware that at that time their armour was not in a fit condition for 
fighting, and that they may be easily picked up by the enemy. A witness 
at Penzance informed us that a little insect of the shrimp tribe appeared near 
the Logan Rock 12 years ago. He thought this insect ate all the bait from the 
pots and drove the crabs away ; he did not know the name of the insect. 
Whenever these insects were found they drove away the fish ; they are now 
decreasing again. I have unfortunately been unable to obtain specimens of 
this insect, and have therefore no idea what they really are. 

The same witness considers that the natural destruction of shell fish by 
skate and cod is ten times greater than by fishermen. Skate and cod are 
sometimes full of small crabs. I am also of opinion that the young crabs, 
when in the form of Zoea, afford food for fish and many other inhabitants of 
the waters. 

In the spring and summer a great number of small crabs are picked out 
of the rocks by women and children ; but I do not think much of the 
mischief done by them. 

Among the enemies of the crab I must not forget the octopus. This creature 
is a great crab eater, as proved at the Brighton Aquarium. Where he exists, 
he, no doubt, plays great havoc among the smaller edible crabs. 

As there are two different sizes of crabs, so also there appear to be two 
different sizes of lobsters. 

The deeper the water and the further from the shore, the larger are the lobsters. Large lobsters. 
The Skye and the Orkney lobsters are probably the largest in the British 
Islands. At St. Mawes we heard of two lobsters, one 10 lbs., and the other 
9f lbs. ; and at Durgan and Sennen of one of 13 lbs. A large lobster was 
caught in a large earthenware pot at Gosport in 1870, he weighed 8 lbs. 
10 ounces. In May 1875 a lobster, weight 12 lbs., was found at Saints Bay, 
Guernsey. I find a record of a lobster exhibited at Billingsgate, July 30, 1842, 
which measured 2 feet 5} inches; the size of the body was 16 inches, the 
claws measured upwards of 14 inches. In August 1873 a lobster weighing 
11| lbs., caught in Guernsey, was exhibited by Messrs. Grove of Bond Street. 

On July 1874 a lobster, weight 1\ lbs., was caught on the Fife Banks 
of the Forth. The lobsters from the Lizard ground are one third heavier than 
those in Falmouth Bay, but crabs are smaller. 

The largest lobsters that have come under my individual notice are, first, 
a lobster weighing 10^ lbs., sent me from Tenby, and now in my museum ; 
secondly, a lobster presented to me by John Byatt, of Messrs. Winder's, 
Haymarket, measuring 8 inches in the barrel, the total length being 19a inches, 
and the weight 9J lbs. 

In the York Museum there is a magnificent specimen of a lobster, of which 
the following are the dimensions : barrel 9^ inches ; top of beak to tail 
19^ inches; left claw, the crusher, length 10^ inches; right claw, cutting, 
length 10^ inches; left claw at widest part 5 inches. This was an American 
specimen. 

Another very large lobster we came across in our inquiry was a grand 
specimen which we examined in the house of Mr. Scovell, at Hamble, near 
Southampton. The following are the dimensions : 

Length of barrel to tip of horn, 9i inches ; length of tail turned under the 
body, 12 inches ; total length, two feet all but three quarters of an inch. Right 
claw, 19| inches long; girth, 12^ inches; weight when killed, 14 lbs. This 
lobster Mr. Scovell informs me was caught in a trammel net on the coast of 
Cornwall. 

In the course of our inquiry we had evidence which pointed to the possible Small lobsters, 
existence of a smaller kind of lobster. A witness informed us that on part of 
the coast, near Hoy Island, the lobsters are always small. It is an undoubted 
fact that the lobsters caught at Bognorare always small; the fishermen do not 
wish the gauge under which these lobsters should not be sold to ]ic more than 
a quarter of a pound in weight, that is about five inches long ; they arc called 
"chicken lobsters ; " they run 14 to 20 to the pound. These small lobsters are 
caught in the prawn pots. There are grass banks extending from Selsea 



1C 

to Shoreliam. It is very possible that the lobsters come in from great 
distances to breed in this locality. The water is in the summer time con- 
siderably warmed by flowing over large tracts of sand which are heated by 
the sun. Built in to the walls of the street at Bognor I observed several stones 
covered with dead oyster spat. Oysters will not adhere unless the water is 
warm. I conclude therefore that the warmth that is favourable to oyster 
breeding is also favourable to young lobsters. Small lobsters are also caught 
in considerable numbers in the prawn nets at Budleigh Salterton. 

Again we heard that there is a ground outside St. Mawes where lobsters do 
not grow large, Out of 20 only 5 or 6 will measure 11 inches. 

Small lobsters also come from Ayrshire. The very small lobsters at Whitby 
are called nintycocks or nancies. 
Sexes of lobsters. The female lobster may be distinguished from the male by no less than five 
, points of diagnosis. 

Firstly, the female is much broader across the arch of the tail than the male. 

I have measured the tails of a male and female lobster, both being about 
the same size, viz., 10 inches in length ; the tail of the female was a quarter 
of an inch broader than that of the male. This is a beautiful provision to give 
space for the bunches of eggs. I have also remarked that the broad ends of 
the side armour plates of the tail are much closer together in the female than in 
the male. This serves as a protection for the eggs. 

Secondly. A male can be distinguished from a female lobster by the strong 
spines upon the inner arch of the joints beneath the tail which support the 
middle plates of the tail. In the male these spines are strong and projecting. 
In the female, they can just be felt by the finger. 

Thirdly. In the male the first pair of legs or feathers under the tail are large ; 
in the female they are small (not half the size). 

The second pair of legs also differ; the male has a kind of spur on them 
which is absent in the female. 

Fourthly. Between the two last pair of legs in both sexes of lobsters there 
exists a portion of the armour in the shape of an inverted saddle; in the male 
the flaps of the saddle present a deep indentation, in the female these are 
more or less rounded off. 

Fifthly. The male lobster can be distinguished from the female in the 
following manner. At the junction of the last pair of legs with the body 
can be found in the male two minute holes, large enough to admit a pin. 
In the female, similar holes will be found in the same relative situation, at the 
insertion of the pair of claws which are the second above the saddle and the 
third from the pinching claws. 
Eggs of lobsters. The berried lobster carries five bunches of eggs on each side underneath the 
tail, making ten bunches in all. I have counted the eggs on one bunch and 
find that there are 2,496 on one bunch, making the number of eggs in this one 
lobster 24,960. 

Lobsters are found with berries all the year round ; March, April, May, are 
the months when they are fullest. 

In order to supply lobster eggs to the cooks for sauce, Mr. Sheppard, 
lobster boiler, has collected in April and May from 14 to 18 pounds of lobster 
spawn ; there are, I find, 6,720 eggs in one ounce of lobster spawn. Here then 
were destroyed eggs which might have represented, say, in 16 lbs. of eggs, no 
less than 1,720,320 lobsters. 
Lobsters breed- I have fortunately been able to obtain the following interesting account of 
lobsters breeding. It is by the celebrated fish culturist the late M. Coste : — 

" The lobster commences breeding in the month of October, and the pairing 
takes place sometimes as late as January. The couplings are rare at the open- 
ing of the season, but increase in frequency to the end of December, and but 
few take place in January. The female emits the eggs in about fifteen or 
twenty days after the pairing. When they have reached the stage proper for 
their expulsion, the female applies the inner side of the tail against the plastron 
or shell immediately over the stomach, in such a manner as to form a cup or 
cavity, in which are to be found the openings of the oviduct, placed exactly 
behind the third pair of legs. Consequently when the eggs escape from the 
stomach they fall into this natural cup or cavity, as described above. They 
are expelled in successive jets to the number of 20,000 in a single day. 



mg, 



17 

"The lobster along with the eggs, emits at the same time a kind of adhesive 
liquid, which binds the eggs one to the other, and attaches thern all to the 
small feet under the tail, where they remain in perfect shelter from all harm 
until they are sufficiently ripe for final expulsion. 

" In order to forward and force the regular incubation of the ova, the females 
have the power to give them more or less light, as they consider requisite, by 
closing or opening the fold of the tail. Sometimes the eggs are kept quite 
covered, and at other times they give them a kind of washing by moving the 
flanges of the tail in a peculiar manner. The incubation lasts six months, 
during which time the female takes such good care of the ova, that it is rare to 
find an injured embryo or barren egg. 

" It is during the months of March, April, and May that the actual birth of 
the young lobster takes place. The females, in order to expel the embryos, 
now ready to burst the shells of the eggs, extend their tails, make light 
oscillations with the fan and its appendages, so as to rid themselves gradually of 
the young lobsters, which they succeed in doing in a few days. The young 
lobster as soon as born makes away from its parent, rises to the surface of the 
water and leaves the shores for the deep waters of the sea, where it passes the 
earliest days of its existence in a vagabond state for 30 or 40 days. During 
this time it undergoes four different changes of shell, but on the fourth it 
loses its natatory organs, and is therefore no longer able to swim on the 
surface of the water but falls to the bottom, where it has to remain for the 
future ; according, however, to its increase of size it gains courage to approach 
the shore which it had left at its birth. The number of enemies which assail 
the young embryos in the deep sea is enormous, thousands of all kinds of fish, 
mollusca, and Crustacea are pursuing it continually to destroy it. The very 
changing of the shell causes great ravages at these periods, as the young 
lobsters have to undergo a crisis which appears to be a necessary condition to 
their rapid growth. In fact every young lobster loses and remakes its crusty 
shell from eight to ten times the first year, five to seven the second, three to 
four the third, and from two to three the fourth year. However, after the 
fifth year the change is only annual, for the reason that were the changes more 
frequent the shell would not last long enough to protect the ova adhering to 
the shell of the female during the six months' incubation. The lobster 
increases rapidly in size until the second year, and goes on increasing more 
gradually until the fifth, when it begins to reproduce, and from this period the 
growth is still more gradual." 

In July 1867 I took down two berried hens and placed them in my experi- 
mental fishery at Reculvers near Heme Bay. 

In a few days all the berries hatched out, the water was swarming with thou- Young lobsters, 
sands of little zoea. After they were hatched the little lobsters swarm 
about in shoals near the surface, but at the end of a fortnight, although they 
had undergone no alteration of form, they took up their residence at the 
bottom. Cold easterly winds which had lowered the temperature of water may 
have had something to do with the change of habit. I was not able to raise 
these zoea as the place was so muddy, and young lobsters I believe require 
rocks. 

By the kindness of Mr. Henry Lee, who has made several beautiful micro- 
scopic preparations of young lobsters hatched both at Reculvers and at the 
Brighton Aquarium, I am enabled to give in the Appendix, 1st, a drawing of 
the egg of the lobster with the young just ready to hatch out; 2nd, the 
portrait of a lobster 24 hours old. {See Diagram No. 4.) 

A correspondent at Brixham in 1873 hatched out young lobsters. He 
writes : " I caught a berried hen in our trammel and placed her in a tank 
" about 5 feet square with a constant flow of water. In two days the tank 
" was alive with young lobsters, and others were rapidly hatching ; they seemed 
"' busily employed in seeking for food amongst the animalculse with which 
" the salt water is supposed to be filled." 

Lobsters when zoea undergo many transformations and sheddings of shell 
before they assume the form of their mother. 

Mr. Saville Kent, curator of the Westminster Aquarium, informs me that 
according to his observation a little zoea lobster sheds his shell 12 times before 



18 



Lobsters 
changing colour. 



Habits of 
lobsterst 



he becomes sedentary, each metamorphosis being different in shape. He will 
become the size of a prawn in six weeks.* 

The smallest perfect lobster I ever saw was at Bognor. I have also a 
specimen in my museum, one of which was taken from the inside of a cod. 

It measures lj inches in barrel, 1| inches in the tail, total, 2| inches ; also 
two others taken by myself at Heme Bay, measuring respectively 4f inches 
and 4 inches. 

As regards the care of its young, and the nidification of lobsters, it was 
given in evidence at North Berwick, that a hen lobster, " when spawning, 
makes a nest like a swallow, building it with mud and sand with her horns." 
On September 28th, 1867, I obtained some evidence on this point from a lobster 
which I had in captivity at Reculvers. The first night she was in the tank 
she artfully collected cockle and oyster shells, and made a trench round herself; 
a branch of seaweed was made to form a canopy over her head. This house, 
however, might have been made for concealment. As regards the care of a 
mother lobster for her young, a witness stated he had put a hen lobster 
into a box, and in three or four weeks after a great many young ones were 
born, and they clustered round the mother like chickens round a hen. A 
lobster carrying eggs is called a "berried" or ran hen. Lobsters are found 
with berries all the year round, but in my experience not so much in the winter 
months as at other times of the year. A witness at Banff stated that thirty 
per cent, of all the lobsters taken are berried all the season through. Most 
berried hens are found in the warm months, May to July. When the young 
have hatched out, the lobster is called a " shotten," or hollow lobster. There is as 
much difference between a berried hen and a shotten lobster, as there is between 
a herring full of roe and a shotten herring. Lobsters are said to eat each 
other's spawn; you may put berried hens into a lobster store pot and the other 
lobsters will eat out the berries. Lobsters have been put in a store pot with- 
out berries, and found full of berries in three weeks. 

No experiments have yet been carried out as to hatching and rearing lobsters 
by artificial means. I think it possible that if properly carried out lobster 
breeding ponds might be made a success. 

it is apparently possible to establish a lobster fishery under favourable cir- 
cumstances. I am informed on good authority that when they were building 
the Lowestoft pier some years ago, a small vessel sank in the harbour laden 
with lobsters and crabs, which, escaping, took possession of the pier, which was 
composed of large blocks of stone, and they have continued to breed there. 
Before this such a thing as a lobster had never been caught at Lowestoft, which 
has a low sandy beach. 

It is curious that lobsters assume different colours during the process of 
boiling. Norway lobsters turn a deep red, while the Scotch are more or less 
marbled. French lobsters also boil red. Hence a lobster is sometimes called 
" The Cardinal of the Sea " by French fishermen. Off Bangor lobsters are some- 
times caught which are a beautiful sky blue colour ; this is simply a variety. 
In May 1868 I received a specimen (now in my museum) of a lobster which 
was half .Albino. One side of the barrel was blue and the other was white. 
Spirits of wine has turned the blue colour of the lobster red. I cut off a 
portion of the white side and boiled it, but it did not turn red. Hence I 
conclude that the colouring matter was entirely absent from this portion of 
the shell. The lobster therefore was half Albino. 

Lobsters are good climbers. Their favourite haunts are deep down in the 
submarine caves and hollows in the rocks called " pills " in Cornwall. We may 
conclude that they live in places either darkened by the depth above or by 
the seaweed. The Creator has given to the lobster long antennae by means 
of which it is enabled to feel its way in dark places. It is also able to feel 
objects behind it. In the structure and use of their antennae, lobsters much 
resemble insects ; I have tried a lobster to see how he uses the antennae. I 
threw a portion of food down to a lobster. He immediately set to work to 






* Those who are interested in the subject of the various metamorphoses of the young lobster, 
should observe what happens with the zoea of the common river crayfish (Astacus fluviatilis). 
These fresh water lobsters can be kept under .observation much easier than the salt water 
lobster. 



19 

ascertain its whereabouts previous to seizing it. When feeding, the lobster 
moves its jaws like a weaver making a blanket ; he tears his food into large 
pieces, leaving the pounding work to be done by the teeth in his stomach. The 
lobster, like the crab, has a complicated stomach. It has an elaborate apparatus 
of teeth which in shape are not unlike small elephants' teeth. When a lobster 
is cut in two, these teeth are readily seen; they are called the "Lady in the 
lobster's head." The aesophagus at its opening is armed with several pairs of 
complicated jaws. Like the crab it breathes by means [of pyramidal gills * 
which arc situated in a separate water-tight box something like the conforma- 
tion we find in the crab. The intestine is one straight tube running down the 
middle of the tail to an aperture which can be found near the tail flaps. 

Lobsters have a certain amount of intelligence. Mr. Reid, of Wick, a very Swimming of 
observant naturalist, informs me that a lobster never sits in a hole without kbsters. 
having a pool of water immediately in front of him into which he may escape 
at the slightest indication of danger. Whereas the common crab cannot swim, 
but crawls sideways, the lobster swims by beating the water with rapid and 
continuous jerks with his tail. When lobsters are undisturbed they will move 
very slowly along head foremost, carrying their heavy claws in front of them 
well away from the ground. Mr. Climo of Polruan has seen them dart through 
the pots as the pots were being hauled to the surface of the water ; they darted 
through tail foremost. Lobsters can go either way, head foremost or tail fore- 
most. I have seen a lobster, when alarmed, shoot itself backward, into a hole 
for many feet without missing its mark. Lobsters seem to have profited by 
experience : there is an impression among the fishermen of Wick that the 
lobsters are becoming accustomed to the creels and will not go into them, 
having somehow found out they are dangerous. 

Lobsters grow like crabs, by means of shedding their shells ; these shed Lobsters 
shells are very perfect. I have in my museum the shed shell of a lobster from shen dl 
Reculvers ponds, where I and some friends tried some experiments. The 
lobster in this case could not have been more than an hour in casting its shell 
as the attendant when going to dinner left one lobster, and when he returned 
there were apparently two. Mr. Climo, of Polruan, informs me that in 1869, 
when he had several lobsters in a store pot, he observed one of them to be 
covered with silver lace. It was quite firm and lively early in the morning, but 
about four hours later he found it had thrown off its outer coat. I have a fine 
specimen in my museum presented by Mr. Hutchinson of Dunbar, of a lobster 
with the shell he had cast in pot. In the process of this single moult the 
lobster had increased one inch and an eighth. 

The crayfish at Brighton Aquarium sometimes shed their shells ; a very 
perfect specimen of the shed shell of a crayfish has been deposited in my 
museum by the Directors of the Brighton Aquarium. 

Lobsters are very intolerant of cold. In cold weather they seem numbed 
and certainly retire into deep water. In very hot weather they are difficult to 
carry. Mr. Scovell of Hamble informed us that a lobster in a welled smack 
will keep for a fortnight or more, but an average passage is a week or ten days, 
except in very hot calm weather. In hot calm weather they hang the lobsters 
overboard in nets. In the far distant islands of Scotland evidence was 
given to my colleague, Mr. Walpole, that lobsters could not be sent to 
London in hot weather on account of the distance. In cold weather the lobster 
will live eight days out of water; they are sent to London packed in sea-weed. 

It is advisable in this place to state that lobsters, when required to be kept, 
live better if placed in the cellar among the coal. Coal seems to have some 
effect in keeping them alive. Another way of keeping them alive, which is 
rather a secret, is to place them in a barrel with straw ; the straw should be well 
wetted with stale beer. 

Lobsters are great fighters ; they fight by pinching and smashing each other's cljlws of lobster: 
claws. It will also be observed from diagram No. 1 that the tips of the two 
anterior pair of the walking claws of the lobster are notched and therefore 
prehensile, while the two hinder pair of legs end in a brush-like tip. I have 
not yet arrived at the meaning of this difference in structure. In the female 
the brush-tipped claws may possibly assist in depositing the eggs under the 

* In nearly .all the lobsters I have discovered some very curious parasites tightly adherent to 
the lungs, somewhat resembling the parasites attached to the gills of salmon. I have not the 
least idea of what use they can be. This parasite of the lobster's lung is scientifically known as 
flicothoe astaci. 



20 

tail. A correspondent has examined 1,3/8 lobsters. He reports that the 
male lobster has the left claw always larger and furnished with coarse teeth. 
The female lobster has the reverse, in fact the crushing claw is on the left. 
According to my own observations and those of Mr. H. Lee the sharp toothed 
claw is as often on the right as on the left side of the animal. I have exa- 
mined many thousand lobsters, and have come to the conclusion that there is 
no rule as to how the lobsters carry their claws. The two claws of a lobster are 
always different ; one of the claws is made like a nutcracker to break up hard 
substances, in fact it is armed as it were with molar teeth. The edges of the 
other claw are serrated and made for tearing substances into small bits. In 
fact the lobster may be said to carry about with him a knife and fork. The 
difference in the claws can be seen in the drawing in the diagram No. 1. 
Boiling crabs and Both during this inquiry on every suitable occasion I have endeavoured to 
lobsters. ascertain evidence relative to the boiling of crabs and lobsters, and have tried 

experiments on this point. It is quite certain that crabs in some parts of 
England are placed in cold water which is gradually heated up to boiling 
point, so that they may be said to be literally boiled alive. 

At Scarborough a witness stated : " The crabs are put into cold water and 
" gradually boiled ; they die long before the water boils, as they are drowned, 
" not being able to live long in fresh water. If they are put into hot water 
" they cast their claws." I have tested these statements by placing crabs in 
cold fresh water, and did not arrive at the same results as the witness. 

I have also experimented by boiling crabs in cold fresh water gradually 
heated. I find they remain alive in the water till it assumes a temperature of 
100° to 110°. During this process the crab naturally suffers great anguish. I 
consider it therefore very cruel to boil crabs gradually in cold water. If they 
are placed suddenly in boiling water they will immediately shoot their claws : 
this indicates the great pain that they suffer. The remedy for this is easy, 
crabs should be placed in boiling water, but they should be killed before they 
are boiled. I have made experiments with Mr. Sheppard, crab and lobster 
boiler to Messrs. Prosser, of Gracechurch Street. I find the crab dies directly 
a sharp instrument, such as an iron skewer or ice pricker, is run into the mouth. 
It has been stated that when this is done the crab will bleed, and the goodness 
come out. This difficulty can be easily met by standing the crab up against 
the wall with the wound uppermost ; if placed in boiling water the blood 
(which is white) is coagulated. A crab that has been killed and immediately 
placed in boiling water weighs more than a crab put into cold water. A crab, 
moreover, put into cold water is not so tasty as if put into boiling water, so 
that the most merciful as well as the most economical way of killing crabs is to 
kill them first in the manner indicated, and then put them into water that 
is on the boil. I should be glad to see a law made against putting crabs in 
cold water and gradually boiling them, 
Plugging I also made inquiries as to the " plugging " of lobsters. Lobsters are great 

lobsters. fighters, so to prevent their injuring each other when in the " hullies " or 

store boxes, it is necessary some way to prevent them using their claws. This is 
done either by tying them with wire or string, or plugging them, as it is called. 
The operation of plugging consists of hammering in a wedge-shaped piece of 
wood at the hinge of the claw. This has the effect of a wedge, and retains the 
claw close and a fixture. This operation necessarily causes great anguish to the 
lobster, which is abundantly supplied with nerves (see preparations in Royal 
College of Surgeons), makes the lobster "fret," and greatly injures its quality 
as food. I am happy to say that the fashion of plugging is getting obsolete. 
I understand that some years ago Mr. Gompertz, the then Secretary to the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, waited upon the Lord Mayor, 
Sir Peter Laurie, to mention to his Lordship the great inhumanity of plugging 
lobsters. The Lord Mayor stated that he had heard from a medical authority 
that fish tortured into mortification by plugging was actually poisonous. He 
stated he should issue necessary directions. I have good reason to believe 
that since this Lord Mayor's time the practice of plugging lobsters has been 
disused. In his evidence, Mr. George Stevenson, fish merchant, of Billings- 
gate, stated that some of the Irish lobsters are plugged, but very few lobsters 
are plugged now. It has fallen out of use since Sir Peter Laurie's time. 

The public should not buy " plugged " lobsters ; if this were done it would 
greatly assist to put a stop to this barbarous practice wherever it is carried on. 



21 

I would like, finally, here to say a few words about the Cray-fish, as that Cray-fish. 
animal forms an important addition to the public food. The cray-fish is also 
called the " spring lobster " or "red crab" (Pulinurus vul (juris). It is not so 
highly esteemed for food in this country as in France, where it is called 
" Langouste." They are only caught on the west coast of Cornwall; the 
principal place for them is the Scilly Islands. I have every reason to believe 
that the cray-fish are migratory. Mr. Bond, a fisherman of Sennen, informed 
me that they came in schools, swimming on the top of the water like pilchards. 
The capture of cray-fish varies; "some seasons hardly any are to be caught; 
" the next season they come in all of a body." The cray-fish are migratory 
and vary in number from season to season. Mr. Bond has caught 50 or 60 
a day in some years, and in others not more than 12. 10 years ago the pots 
used to catch in one morning more cray-fish than they do now the whole 
season, p. 20. Their horns can be seen working on the top of the water as 
they swim along in shoals. They are caught in much the same places as 
crabs. They certainly eat mussels, for they are found in mussel grounds, 
and probably star-fish. Smooth water and warmth is good for catching cray- 
fish. The fishermen at Cadgwith get the same price for cray-fish as they do 
for crabs. Mr. Barber says, the cray-fish trade is quite as important as the 
lobster trade. Cray-fish are dearer than lobsters; they are 2s. to 2s. Gd. each 
when the average size. He thinks none under 10 inches should be taken. 
He has bought 150 cray-fish at \)d. ; they are now 2s. and 2s. 6d, each. I heard 
of the existence of cray-fish at North Berwick ; a witness stated : " There are 
" plenty of cray-fish on the ground, but the fishermen never go after them as 
" there is no sale. Has seen tons of these fish thrown away. Has thrown 
" them back for the last 20 years. Calls them ' soft ground lobsters.' Would 
" be glad to find a market for them. They average 3£ inches in the barrel." 
For my own part I will not express an opinion as to whether these soft " ground 
lobsters " of North Berwick are or are not the true cray-fish, until I have had an 
opportunity of examining them. According to my own experience the cray-fish 
carries berries in February and March. 

In concluding these remarks I beg to observe that many specimens illus- 
trative of the natural history of the crabs and lobsters can be examined at 
my Museum of Economic Fish Culture, South Kensington. 

Frank Buck land. 



40353. 



JOINT APPENDIX No. III. 



DIAGRAMS 



TO ACCOMPANY 



REPORTS 



ON THE 



CRAB AND LOBSTER FISHERIES 



OF 



ENGLAND AND WALES 



AND OF 



SCOTLAND. 



No. 1. — Lobster, 8 inches long {life size). 

„ 2. — Crab, 5 inches long (life size). 

„ 3. — Crab, 4J inches long (life size). 

,, 4. — Lobster, in egg, and 24 hours old (life size and magnified). 

„ 5. — Zoea of Crab, two stages (life size and magnified). 

„ 6. — Growth of Crab on Casting its Shell. 

„ 7. — Tails of Male and Female Crab (life size). 

„ 8. — Feathers and Spawn, from Tail of Female Crab. 



A P P E N D I X 

TO 

REPORT ON THE CRAB AND LOBSTER 
FISHERIES 

OF 

IRELAND. 



Return of Places where Inquiries have been held during September, 
October, November, and December 1876, and January 1877, 



into the Condition of the Crab 
Ireland. 



and Lobster Fisheries of 



County. 



Inquiries held at 



Tenor of Evidence. 



Dublin 

Wexford 
Do. 

Waterford 



Do. 



Dublin 

Wexford 
Kilmore Quay 
Waterford - 



Do. 


Dunmore East 


Do. 


Tramore 


Do. 


Ballinagoul* 


Do. 


Ring* 


Cork - 


Ballycotton* 


Do. 


Cork 



Kinsale 



Supply of lobsters not so good as 
formerly •- a good many of 8 and 9 
and even 5 and 4 inch taken .In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture of any under 8^ to 9 inches. 

Supply of lobsters as good as ever., 
In favour of enactment that none 
be taken under 8 to 10 inches. 

Supply not so good as formerly. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting any 
being taken under 9 inches. 

Supply of lobsters and crabs as good 
as ever. In favour of enactment 
prohibiting lobsters under 9 inches, 
and crabs under 5 inches from being 
taken. 

Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 
In favour of not allowing any under 
9 inches being taken. 

Supply of lobsters decreasing. In 
favour of enactment not to allow 
any under 9 inches being taken. 

Supply of lobsters more plentiful than 
formerly. 

Supply of lobsters as plentiful as ever. 
In favour of enactment not to 
permit any under 9 inches being 
taken. 

Supply of lobsters as plenty as ever. 
In favour of enactment not permit- 
ting any under 9 inches being taken. 

Supply of lobsters and crabs decreased. 
In favour of enactment not to per- 
to be taken lobsters under 10 inches 
and crabs 6 inches. 

No decrease in supply of lobsters. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 12 inches. 



1 
County. 


Inquiries held at 


Tenor of Evidence. 


Cork - 


Clonakilty - 


Supply of lobsters and crabs as good 
as ever. In favour of enactment 
prohibiting capture of former under 
10 inches and latter under 6 inches. 


Do. 


Dunny Cove 


Supply of lobsters increased. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 10 inches. 


Do. 


Union Hall - 


Supply of lobsters increased. In favour 
of enactment prohibiting capture 
under 10 inches. 


Do. 


Castletownsend 


Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 
In favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 9 or 10 inches. 


Do. 


Baltimore 


Supply of lobsters falling off. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture of any under 10 inches. 


Kerry - 


Port Magee - 


Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 


i Do. 


Dingle 


Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 
In favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture of any under 9 inches. 


Clare - 


Carrigaholt - 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Kilkee* 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Seafleld* - 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Quilty's Cross 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Freaghcastle* 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Liscannor* - - 


Supply of lobsters more plenty than 
formerly, in favour of enactment 
prohibiting capture of any under 
9 inches. 


Do. 


Fisherstown* 


Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 


Do. 


Ballyvaughan 


Supply of lobsters as good as ever. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 9 inches. 


Galway 


Spiddle 


Supply of lobsters decreasing. Against 
any restriction as to size to be 
captured. 


Do. 


Costello Bay 


Supply of lobsters and crabs decreas- 
ing. In favour of enactmnet pro- 
hibiting capture of former under 
10 inches. Against any restriction 
as to latter. 


Do. 


Rossmuck - 


Supply of lobsters decreasing. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture nnder 10 inches. 


Do. 


Roundstone - 


Supply of lobsters increasing last two 
years. In favour of enactment 
prohibiting capture under 8 or 10 
inches. 


Do. 


Salerno* 


Supply of lobsters decreasing. Against 
prohibiting small ones being cap- 
tured. 

Supply of lobsters as plenty as ever. 


Galway 


Bally conn eelly 






In favour of enactment prohibiting 






capture under 8 or 9 inches. 


Do. 


Clifden 


Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 
In favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 9 inches. 


Do. 


Tully* 


Supply of lobsters better formerly. 
Consider restriction as to size of 
capture of no importance. 


Do. 


Letterfrack* - 


Do. do. 



County. 



Inquiries held at 



Tenor of Evidence. 



Mayo 
Do. 
Do. 
Do. 
Do. 



Sligo 
Do. 
Do. 



Donegal 



Do. 
Do. 



Do. 
Do. 

Do. 

Do. 

Antrim 
Do. 



Achill 

Elly Bay* - 
Belmullet 
Ballycastle* - 
Kilcummin - 



SJigo 

Ballyconnell 

Mullaghmore 

Teelin 



Killybegs* - 
Inishcoo Island 



Dunfanaghy 
Buncrana* - 

Malin Head - 

Moville 

Portrush 
Port Ballintoy* 



Supply of lobsters increasing. 

Abundance of lobsters. 
. Do. do. 

Do. do 

Supply of lobsters same as ever. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 8 to 10 inches. 

Supply of lobsters decreasing. Tn 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 7 to 9 inches. 

Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 
In favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 7 to 8 inches. 

Supply of lobsters as plentiful as 
ever. In favour of enactment 
prohibiting capture under 7 to 
8 inches. 

Supply of lobsters as good as ever. 
Asserted that there is a small run 
of lobsters about this place, that 
those of 9 inches are good, and if 
those of that size not allowed to be 
taken, it would be an injury to the 
fishermen. Those of 11 inches 
hardy and good. They get as 
much for small as large. Seldom 
take any less than 8| inches, throw 
small ones back. 

Few lobsters taken on this part of 
the coast. 

Lobsters as plenty as ever. As small 
as 4 inch taken. In favour of 
enactment prohibiting capture 
under 8 to 9 inches. Crabs as 
plenty as ever, but of little 
value. 

Lobsters as plenty as ever. In favour 
of enactment prohibiting capture 
under 8 to 9 inches. 

A considerable decrease in lobsters. 
Capture less than half as compared 
with 10 years ago. In favour of 
restriction to prevent small ones 
being taken. 

On one side of Head, lobsters said to 
be as plenty as ever. On the other 
a decrease said to have taken place. 
In favour ofenactment prohibiting 
capture under 8 or 9 inches. 

A great falling off in supply of 
lobsters and crabs. Very small 
lobsters taken. In favour of enact- 
ment prohibiting the capture under 
8 to 9 inches. 

Supply of lobsters and crabs greatly 
decreased. In favour of enact- 
ment prohibiting capture of lobsters 
under 9 inches. 

A decrease in lobsters. 



Comity. 




Tenor of Evidence: 



Antrim 


Balh'castle - 


A great decrease in lobsters, attri- 
buted to quantity of small ones 
taken ; small ones usually sold by 
the pound. Do not bring half as 
much as good ones. In favour of 
enactment prohibiting capture 
under 9 inches. 


Do. 


Larne* 


A considerable decrease in lobsters. 
Size diminished. 


Do. 


Oarrickfergus* 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Belfast 


A great decrease in supply of lobsters ; 
many small ones sent to market. 
In favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 9 inches. 


Down 


Donaghadee 


Lobsters as plenty as ever, but run 






smaller. Said to arise from not 
being allowed to grow. Three or 
four sometimes counted for one. 
In favour of restriction as to size 
to prevent small ones being taken. 


Do. 


Portaferry - 


Lobsters as plenty as ever. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 9 inches. 


Do. 


Kilkeel 


Lobsters as plenty as ever. In 
favour of enactment prohibiting 
capture under 9 inches. 


Do. 


Ardglass 


Do. do. 


Do. 


Newcastle'" - 


Lobsters as plenty as ever. 


Do. 


Annalong* - 


Do. do. 



Note. — In the places marked thus * our inquiries were not previously 
publicly advertized, but the parties interested were noticed to attend, and 
inquiries made en route. 



LONDON: 

Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 
Printers to the Queen's most Excellent Majesty. 

Eor Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 



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40353. 



No. 5. 



Specimens representing* the Development or the Crab 




Zoea op Crab (First Stage) magnified. 
(The Natural size is represented within the circle.) 




Zoea of Crab (Second Stage) magnified. 
(The Natural size is represented within the circle.) 



X? 6. 

Spectrrzens stowing grvwth ofCrahcn catfmg i& sheHi 

(ay ) Specawen of crab before casting its sftell. 

( //A' s/y) 

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(h) 7fui scmw 

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/)y//> directly ccfter azs&hrjriz? shdl. 




Tail of Malt Crab. 7 indim lonjj 

(life, sige.J 




Tail of Female. Crab 7 mdws long. 

(m dp.) 







00 




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Outer Feather from Tail of Female Crtih. 



1 




- 



Inner FeaUier from Tail of female Crab with 
in mi immature stale. . atlarhed 



SI 



1 



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3 9088 00581 6582 




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